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Showing posts from September, 2010

Cher Week continues from Vegas

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[Editor's note] I'm coming to you live from the New York New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada! As you may undoubtedly know, I'm here on official Cher-worshipping business. This Saturday night, I'll be sitting in the 6th row of the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, watching one of the greatest entertainers of all time. The words "thrilling excitement" don't even begin to cover it...


Since I'm blogging from a new city, I thought "Walking in Memphis" was an appropriate selection for today's Cher Week installment. Admittedly, I hadn't heard this song (a cover of Marc Cohn's original) until way later in my Cher-adoring career. It is not part of The Very Best of Cher nor was it a major hit in the United States. The song was actually the first European single off of her twenty-second studio album, It's a Man's World. The song peaked at #11 on the British charts in 1995.

What I like most about Cher's version of "Walki…

Worst tattoo client ever

GLAAD report on GLBT characters on TV is out

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GLAAD has just released their Where We Are on TV report for fall, and it shows good news for GLBT representation on broadcast television for the 2010-2011 season, especially if you’re a white gay male. But things are improving across the spectrum as well.

This year's report counts 587 characters on broadcast primetime scripted television, and then compares that to the number of GLBT characters that are lead or supporting, which is 23 or 3.9%. That’s up from 18 GLBT characters or 3.0% last year.

It's worth noting that eleven of those characters are on ABC, which casts an impressive 7.2% of their characters as GLBT.

CBS was touted for improvement in this report, but simply because the character Kalinda on The Good Wife will finally be revealed as bisexual. Improvement in this case counts as getting to 0.8% GLBT representation.

Only NBC saw a drop in the percentage of characters on primetime, down to just 2%, but that can be attributed as much to the decimation of last year’s series …

Two kids commit suicide after anti-gay bullying

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The Advocate reports on two devastatingly sad stories:

The parents of Asher Brown, an eighth-grader who committed suicide last Thursday, say that their son killed himself in response to relentless antigay bullying at his Houston school.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the mother and stepfather of Brown said that constant harassment at Hamilton Middle School in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District prompted their 13-year-old son to shoot himself in the head.

“Brown, his family said, was ‘bullied to death’ — picked on for his small size, his religion and because he did not wear designer clothes and shoes,” reported the Chronicle. “Kids also accused him of being gay, some of them performing mock gay acts on him in his physical education class, his mother and stepfather said.”

Grieving parents David and Amy Truong said that the school never responded to several complaints they made in the past 18 months. The school district said they never received any complaints from the pare…

The Funnies

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Pick Me Up of the Day

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Jason Morgan as featured on Tres Fab Sweetie.

Cher Week continues

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[Editor's note] One of my favorite Cher songs is perhaps also one of her least recognizable.

In 1974, Cher released "Dark Lady," a song about a jilted lover and a double murder. It's a delicious tale of deception and revenge told through song and animation (see video below). Doom and gloom as it may sound, it's a fun song that tells a great story.

The song became Cher's third solo U.S. number one hit on March 23, 1974 and her last until "Believe" a quarter-century later.
It's also one of my greatest hits while karaoking in traffic. In any case, I hope you enjoy the song as much as I enjoy it!

D.J. duo Duck Sauce
“Barbra Streisand”

See how many artists you can identify, and, as a bonus, count the number of M. C. Hammer moves too.

Glee takes on Rocky Horror

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--> File this under OMG!: Glee: The Music, The Rocky Horror Glee Show will be available October 19. The seven-track soundtrack EP includes the music from the Rocky Horror-themed episode airing October 26. Tracks are: "Science Fiction Double Feature," "Damn It, Janet," "Whatever Happened To Saturday Night?," "Sweet Transvestite," "Touch A Touch A Touch A Touch Me," "There's a Light (Over at Frankenstein Place)," and, of course, "Time Warp."

Repeat: OMGAH!

George Lucas to release Star Wars in 3D

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The BBC reports: The entire Star Wars film saga is to be converted into 3D, director George Lucas has announced.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace is expected to be released in 2012, with the other films to follow.

It had been reported that Lucas had delayed converting the Star Wars movies into 3D until there were enough screens available to screen them.

Following the success of James Cameron's Avatar, which broke several box office records, 3D movies have become more common.

But reactions to the news about Star Wars have been mixed.

Lucas directed the first Star Wars film in 1977 and also its three prequels Industrial Light & Magic, the part of Lucas's production company Lucasfilm that specialises in visual effects, will supervise the project.

ILM's John Knoll said: "Getting good results on a stereo conversion is a matter of taking the time and getting it right. It takes a critical and artistic eye along with an incredible attention to detail to be successful. …

The Sound of Music cast to reunite on Oprah

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The Marquee Blog reports: If seeing the cast of The Sound of Music reunited on national TV is one of your dreams, well... Oprah Winfrey is going to make another one of your dreams come true during her final season.

Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer will join fellow Music stars Charmian Carr (Liesl), Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich), Heather Menzies-Urich (Louisa), Duane Chase (Kurt), Angela Cartwright (Brigitta), Debbie Turner (Marta) and Kym Karath (Gretl) on Winfrey's show on October 29, 2010, according to a statement.

It's been 45 years since the cast had such a reunion, and they plan on dishing about behind-the-scenes dirt from the Music set and what they've been up to since their Oscar-winning movie was released.

Plus, the Von Trapp Children, a singing group that features some of the actual members of the von Trapp family, will be on hand to showcase their pipes in a tribute to the family-favorite film and its starsIn related news, there's going to be a Sound of Musi…

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees announced

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The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just announced its latest class of nominees via press release. The list of 15 artists covers a broad range of eras and sounds, from rock, to pop, to folk, to hip-hop and more. Inductees will be announced in December and honored at a ceremony next March.

EW reports: the full list of this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees are as follows:
Alice CooperBeastie BoysBon JoviChicNeil DiamondDonovanDr. JohnJ. Geils BandLL Cool JDarlene LoveLaura NyroDonna Summer (!)Joe TexTom WaitsChuck Willis

BP to create new safety division in wake of spill

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Robert Dudley shook up the structure of the British oil giant BP today, just two days before he is scheduled to take over as chief executive.

Mr. Dudley announced that BP would set up a new global safety division and make other changes to the way it operates as it seeks to absorb some lessons from the explosion of a oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year. As part of the changes, Andy Inglis, the head of exploration and production who was in charge of sealing the blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico, will leave the company.

The moves, Mr. Dudley said, were “the first and most urgent steps in a program I am putting in place to rebuild trust in BP — the trust of our customers, of governments, of our employees and of the world at large. The changes are in areas where I believe we most clearly need to act,” he said, “with safety and risk management our most urgent priority.”

In a message to BP staff around the world, Mr. Dudley said that “there are lessons for us relating to the way …

New web site outs National Organization for Marriage donors

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Newsweek reports: The National Organization for Marriage will come under close scrutiny today with the launch of a new Web site that will detail supporters and backers of the organization, whose goal is to fight against same-sex marriage. (NOM, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., was founded in 2007 “in response to the growing need for an organized opposition to same-sex marriage in state legislatures,” as its Web site states.)

The new Web site, NOMexposed.com, is the creation of the the Human Rights Campaign and the Courage Campaign, one of the country’s fastest growing, Web-activist organizations.

“We want to out NOM for what it is—a secretive player in antigay politics, which is posing as an offshore company for antigay religious money,” says Michael Cole, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign.

After months of poring through public documents including court and tax records, the Web site details NOM supporters like the Mormon and Catholic churches, as well as Opus Dei. It als…

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Nick Youngquest as featured on Joseph Bleu.

Cher Week continues

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[Editor's note] Today's installment of Cher Week is arguably one of the most definitive of her career.

In 1989, Cher boarded the USS Missouri wearing a fishnet body stocking, a black one-piece bathing suit and a leather jacket. Her hair was big and her heels were high. Despite where you think this was going, she was there to film the iconic music video for "If I Could Turn Back Time."
With her rock band in toe and surrounded by sailors, Cher made a rock video in every sense of the word. A patriot through and through, Cher proceeded have her way with the US Navy as only she could.
The song was an international hit and ushered in a new era for Cher. Seen by many has her comeback, "If I Could Turn Back Time" charted at number 1 in Australia and Norway, number 3 in the United States and number 6 in the United Kingdom. It was also Cher's second consecutive number 1 in the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

The video also generated a concert-going tradition of s…

RIP Gloria Stuart

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The New York Times reports: Gloria Stuart, a glamorous blond actress during Hollywood’s golden age who was largely forgotten until she made a memorable comeback in her 80s in the 1997 epic Titanic, died on Sunday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 100.

Her daughter, Sylvia Vaughn Thompson, confirmed the death.

Ms. Stuart had long since moved on from Hollywood when James Cameron, the director of Titanic, rediscovered her for the role of Rose Calvert, a 101-year-old survivor of the ship’s sinking. She was 86 at the time.

Her performance earned her an Academy Award nomination, for best supporting actress. It was her only Oscar nomination, and she was the oldest person ever to receive one for acting. (She lost to Kim Basinger.)

Audiences in 1997 had little if any memory of Ms. Stuart’s early screen career, but it had been substantial: a total of 46 films from 1932 to 1946. She abandoned movies, she said, after growing tired of being typecast as “girl reporter, girl detective, girl overboard.…

Max Weinberg will not follow Conan O’Brien to new show

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ArtsBeat reports: The good news for Max Weinberg fans is that he’ll have a lot more time to spend with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. On Monday, representatives for Conan O’Brien officially announced that Mr. Weinberg, the longtime band leader at NBC’s Late Night and Tonight Show programs, would not be joining Mr. O’Brien at his TBS series, Conan, which is to have its premiere on Nov. 8. Mr. Weinberg, who created the Max Weinberg 7 band for Late Night With Conan O’Brien in 1993, and Mr. O’Brien said in a joint statement that the departure was by mutual agreement.

Mr. O’Brien said in the statement that “Max has been a huge part of my life for the past 17 years and he is an incredible band leader and musician. I hope he can find time to stop by the new show, sit in with the band, and pretend to find my monologue funny.”

Mr. Weinberg wrote that his 17 years with Mr. O’Brien represented “a lifetime on TV.” He added that “making music with Jimmy Vivino, Mark Pender, La Bamba, Jerry…

Cary Grant and Randolph Scott:
A Love Story

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In more gay news of screen legends, the Villiage Voice brings us this chestnut:

Regular reader Gregory Moore writes: It's happened to me more than once: While conversing with a straight person, Cary Grant's name will come up and the topic of whether or not he was gay arises.

It seems that straight people -- especially straight women -- will bristle and become very sexually territorial about him. Sort of like, 'No, you can't have him! He's ours!'

I can't think of any other star whose nebulous sexuality gives rise to such a tug-of-war between the hets and the homos.

For me, the answer lies in the following photos I've collected over the years of Grant with Randolph Scott. Grant's 'friendship' with the devastatingly handsome Scott was remarkably open and fairly candid in the dangerously oppressed 1930s.

There were several photo shoots for the fan magazines of the two 'merry bachelors,' who for several years shared a beach house in Santa Moni…

Tapes describe U.S. servicemen killing for sport in Afghanistan

Do Ask, Do Tell

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Newsweek has an interesting write-up on DADT:
At least 11,000 service members have been discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the 1993 policy that bans gays and lesbians from serving openly. (The Pentagon has collected data only since 1997, so the number is likely higher, with gay-rights groups estimating the figure closer to 14,000.) Nearly 1,000 specialists with vital skills —Arabic linguists, for example—have been forced out, meaning millions of taxpayer dollars spent on military training have gone to waste. According to a 2010 report by the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA that focuses on gay legal and policy issues, the U.S. Armed Forces spend about $22,000 to $43,000 to replace each individual discharged under DADT, and the discharges continue today.

The cost to the individuals kicked out is impossible to measure. Many speak of shattered lives and reputations, skills lost, and of desperate years trying to regain financial and emotional security. Former Navy officer Jos…

Ex-Air Force Officers: UFOs monitored nuke sites

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CNN reports: Seven former U.S. Air Force personnel gathered in Washington Monday to recount UFO sightings over nuclear weapons facilities in decades past – accounts that a UFO researcher says show extraterrestrial beings are interested in the world’s nuclear arms race and may be sending humans a message.

At a news conference at the National Press Club, the six former officers and one ex-enlisted man recalled either personal sightings or reports from subordinates and others of UFOs hovering over nuclear missile silos or nuclear weapons storage areas in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.

Three of the former Air Force officers – though they hadn’t seen the UFOs themselves - told reporters that UFOs hovering over silos around Montana’s Malmstrom Air Force Base in 1967 appeared to have temporarily deactivated some of the nuclear missiles.

Much of the testimony already has appeared in books, websites and elsewhere. But UFO researcher and author Robert Hastings, who organized the news conference…

More ships criss-cross Arctic Ocean as sea ice melts

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Survey: Atheists know more about religion than believers

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The Los Angeles Times brings us this disturbing find:
If you want to know about God, you might want to talk to an atheist.

Heresy? Perhaps. But a survey that measured Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists and agnostics knew more, on average, than followers of most major faiths. In fact, the gaps in knowledge among some of the faithful may give new meaning to the term "blind faith."

A majority of Protestants, for instance, couldn't identify Martin Luther as the driving force behind the Protestant Reformation, according to the survey, released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Four in 10 Catholics misunderstood the meaning of their church's central ritual, incorrectly saying that the bread and wine used in Holy Communion are intended to merely symbolize the body and blood of Christ, not actually become them.

Atheists and agnostics — those who believe there is no God or who aren't sure — were more likely to answer the survey'…

It's Cher Week on Jerry Curl

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[Editor's note] Greetings readers. I'm thrilled to report that this upcoming Saturday night, in Las Vegas, at Caesars Palace, I will be watching Cher dazzle me with 40 years of her divadom!

To mark the 25th year of my life, I decided to pay homage to a woman who shaped so much of who I am today. The camp, the glitz, the autotune-- she's made me a legend in my own mind and that deserves praise from the 6th row. I'm already fixin' to bedazzle a sailor hat to toss on stage during "If I Could Turn Back Time" !

All this means that it's a very special week on the Curl. On the one hand, posting will be uncharacteristically slim after Wednesday because I'll be traveling. On the other hand, I'll be posting some of Cher's greatest moments all week! Music videos, live performances, interviews, the works! Think of it as a virtual tribute before the momentous moment.

That said, here's the first installment. It's Cher performing "Perfection&qu…

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Alessandro Terrin as featured on Tres Fab Sweetie.

Humphrey Bogart outed in new biography

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On the silver screen he was tough, cool and sophisticated; in real-life, one of Hollywood's legendary lovers. Sexually voracious and habitually unfaithful, Humphrey Bogart had three unhappy marriages before he met the love of his life, Lauren Bacall.

Now it has emerged that before marrying her in 1945, Bogie had bedded an estimated 1,000 women including Bette Davis, Jean Harlow, Marlene Dietrich and Ingrid Bergman - but still feared he might be gay.

The extraordinary claim is made in a new biography of the actor, best known for the movie Casablanca.

It suggests that during his second marriage to American stage and film actress Mary Philips, Bogart became riddled with uncertainty that made him impotent and question his sexuality - and even drove him to consider suicide.

The biography's author Darwin Porter, a journalist who worked in Hollywood in the 1960s, says Philips insisted on openly maintaining her previous relationships, even spending the night before their marriage in 1928 …

Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund takes on social conservatives

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund released a jarring new video called "What Will You Lose?" in which they highlight what LGBT Americans would lose should social conservatives like Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) get their way. So, what's on the list: love, freedom, and dignity, among other things.

Today is National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

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It's likely not on your calendar, although it should be, but today's National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Towleroad reports: While HIV/AIDS certainly isn't a "gay disease," men who have sex with men remains one of the most at risk populations: the CDC reports that 1 in 5 of these men are HIV-positive and about 44% are unaware. Jeffrey Crowley, director of the White House Office of National HIV Policy office, remarked, "We see large numbers of annual infections. We see very high relative risks compared to other groups, and most disturbing of all, unlike other groups, we see rising infection rates."

Judge orders lesbian Air Force nurse reinstated

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CNN reports: A federal judge has ordered the reinstatement of an openly lesbian former Air Force major who was dismissed from the military under the government's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Judge Ronald Leighton of Tacoma, Washington, made his ruling Friday. It is the latest legal and political setback for the Obama administration, which is seeking to end the policy through a legislative and executive solution.

Maj. Margaret Witt, a decorated flight nurse with 20 years of service, had sued to return to the Air Force Reserve. She was honorably discharged in July 2007 on the grounds that she had a six-year relationship with another woman, a civilian.

"Her discharge from the Air Force Reserves violated her substantive due process rights under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. She should be restored to her position as a flight nurse with the 446th AES as soon as is practicable," wrote the judge.

An Air Force spokesman said the Air Force…

Lohan to check into rehab 'within days'

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Lindsay Lohan was was released from Lynwood jail on $300,000 bail late Friday night.

As part of the conditions of her bail, a SCRAM alcohol monitoring device must be put on Lohan’s body within 24 hours of her release.

According to People, Lohan is reportedly getting “serious about her recovery,” according to People. According to the mag, a source claims that the troubled starlet plans to voluntarily check herself back into a rehab center, saying, “She will step up her treatment and do more than what she was previously ordered to do.”

TMZ reports that Lohan’s mother, Dina, as well as the star’s business manager, Lou Taylor, are involved in the rehab planning.

As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia M. Schnegg reversed Judge Elden S. Fox’s decision on Friday to hold Lohan in custody without bail for violating the terms of her probation by failing a drug test.

Napping pilots may be safer than you think

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MSNBC brings us this story that makes a lot of sense, but somehow falls short of being entirely comforting:
The idea of pilots napping at 30,000 feet may sound horrifying, but pilots across the world are taking naps in the sky every day. And it might actually make air travel safer.

Research shows that a fatigued pilot is more likely to make errors at critical moments. In fact, fatigue has been cited as a factor in more than 320 airline accidents and nearly 750 deaths over the past 50 years, according to a News21 analysis of NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration data. Experts say those numbers would be much higher if fatigue could be measured like alcohol and drugs.

Even a 10-minute nap can improve a pilot’s performance, said Scott Shappell, a Clemson University professor who as director of the Human Factors Institute helped write the flying policies that govern military pilots.

In the military, pilots flying alone have been allowed for decades to take naps, Shappell said. “I can tell y…

Obama on America's education system

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Anti-Chavez parties celebrate after Venezuela election

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MSNBC reports: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won a majority in parliament but opponents took more than a third of the seats, threatening his ability to pass socialist reforms before seeking re-election in 2012.

Election authorities said that the ruling Socialist Party won at least 90 places, and the opposition Democratic Unity umbrella group at least 59, with all but 14 of the 165-member National Assembly seats decided. A third party won another two.

The opposition said it had won 52 percent of the national popular vote in Sunday's election.

The results of the vote will buoy the opposition's hopes of toppling Chavez at the ballot box in two years' time.

The initial count was announced eight hours after the close of Sunday's voting because there were a number of close races, National Electoral Council president Tibisay Lucena said.

Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, leader of the opposition coalition, called the delayed results "inadmissible."

Before the vote, the oppositi…

Weekend box office

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Weekend Top Five:

#1 Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps ($19M)
#2 Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole ($16.3M)
#3 The Town ($16M)
#4 Easy A ($10.7M)
#5 You Again ($8.3M)

Judy Garland
"Just in Time"

--> Skip ahead to the 2 minute mark.

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Felipe Martins as featured on Made in Brazil.

Lindsay Lohan back in jail after failing drug test

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MTV News reports: Troubled actress Lindsay Lohan was back in court in Los Angeles on Friday (September 24) to face the music after admitting last week to failing a recent drug test. The judge in the case was clearly not happy about this latest setback.

According to TMZ, Judge Elden Fox did not hear any testimony from Lohan's lawyers before denying the 24-year-old Mean Girls star bail and ordering her to immediately report to jail. Lohan was reportedly handcuffed in court before being taken into custody, meaning she could be behind bars until the next hearing in the case, scheduled for October 22.

Wearing black sunglasses, a long black blazer over a high-waisted white skirt and black top and shiny stacked heels, Lohan breezed past the assembled paparazzi around 8 a.m. this morning on her way into court, five days after Judge Fox revoked her probation and issued a bench warrant that would have been executed had Lohan failed to show up for the hearing.

Last weekend, Lohan admitted to fa…

RIP Eddie Fisher

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Eddie Fisher, whose huge fame as a pop singer was overshadowed by scandals ending his marriages to Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor, has died. He was 82.

His daughter, Tricia Leigh Fisher of Los Angeles, told The Associated Press that Fisher died Wednesday night at his Berkeley home of complications from hip surgery.

"Late last evening the world lost a true America icon," Fisher's family said in a statement released by publicist British Reece. "One of the greatest voices of the century passed away. He was an extraordinary talent and a true mensch."

Fisher's clear dramatic singing voice brought him a devoted following of teenage girls in the early 1950s. He sold millions of records with 32 hit songs including "Thinking of You," "Any Time," "Oh, My Pa-pa," "I'm Yours," "Wish You Were Here," "Lady of Spain" and "Count Your Blessings."

His fame was enhanced by his 1955 marriage to movie d…

Baz Luhrmann will bring Strictly Ballroom to the stage

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ArtsBeat reports: Baz Luhrmann, the film auteur behind William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge, is moving forward on a long-intended stage musical adaptation of his first movie, Strictly Ballroom, with hopes of bringing it to Broadway someday, Mr. Luhrmann said in a phone interview this week.

A 1992 romantic comedy inspired by Mr. Luhrmann’s ballroom dance classes while growing up in Australia, Strictly Ballroom emerged as an award-winning audience favorite at the Cannes Film Festival and went on to achieve cult status in the United States and Europe. The movie itself was based on a 20-minute play that Mr. Luhrmann wrote in drama school.

With two film projects in the works, Mr. Luhrmann said that the musical was likely to take at least a couple of years to develop, which his company Bazmark is doing with the entertainment group Global Creatures. But he is planning to hold a creative workshop on the music, lyrics, and book in December in Australia.

Mr. Luhrmann said it was f…

Dept of Justice to Judge: Keep enforcing DADT

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The Department of Justice asked a federal judge yesterday to continue enforcing the military's ban on gay and lesbian service members, despite a ruling earlier this month that struck down "don't ask, don't tell" as unconstitutional.

In a 14-page filing, Justice Department attorneys argued that an immediate, permanent injunction against enforcing the law —one supported by Log Cabin Republicans, which successfully challenged DADT in court and has argued for a halt to all discharges of gay service members — would be "untenable." (A PDF of the government’s brief is here.)

"Because any injunction in this case must be limited to [Log Cabin Republicans] and the claims it asserts on behalf of its members – and cannot extend to non-parties – plaintiff’s requested world-wide injunction of [DADT] fails as a threshold matter," assistant U.S. attorney Paul Freeborne wrote.

DADT repeal advocates and attorneys representing Log Cabin Republicans immediately slam…

Gay students report higher discrimination on college campuses

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Towleroad reports: Many LGBT people see higher education as a place to come out, to spread their proverbial wings and explore a wide world without fear.

Unfortunately for many, that's not the case, for a new study from the non-profit Campus Pride shows that 23% of LGBT students, faculty and staff from colleges and universities have reported anti-gay harassment.

Just as worrisome: 33% of LGBT staff, faculty and students have almost left their institution over harassment or a "challenging climate," the survey reports, and "all GLBT students rated their campus environment less positively than did “straight” students." Many Americans, however, won't see this as a matter for national concern. It is....

The President and his administration have made multiple attempts to highlight the nation's flailing academic status amongst the international community. "For years, we’ve recognized that education is a prerequisite for prosperity," said the President a…

Nearly 1 in 5 gay men in U.S. cities have HIV

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The AP reports: One in five sexually active gay and bisexual men has the AIDS virus, and nearly half of those don't know they are infected, a federal study of 21 U.S. cities shows.

Experts said the findings are similar to earlier research, but the study released yesterday is the largest to look at gay and bisexual U.S. men at high risk for HIV. More than 8,000 men were tested and interviewed, and 44 percent of those who had the virus didn't know they had it. Overall, less than half of 1 percent of Americans have the AIDS virus, according to a calculation by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a research and policy organization in Washington, D.C.

But gay and bisexual men continue to be infected at much higher rates, said Jennifer Kates, Kaiser's director of global health and HIV policy.

"We don't have a generalized epidemic in the United States. We have a concentrated epidemic among certain populations," she said.

That's why a new national AIDS strategy, unveiled b…

Facebook blames system change for 'worst outage' in 4 years

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PC Mag reports: Facebook blamed yesterday's 2.5-hour downtime on a change it made to its system, resulting in the worst outage the social-networking company had seen in four years.

"The key flaw that caused this outage to be so severe was an unfortunate handling of an error condition," Facebook's Robert Johnson wrote in a blog post. "This is the worst outage we've had in over four years, and we wanted to first of all apologize."

Yesterday's outage was the second in as many days for Facebook, which was hit was sporadic downtime on Wednesday because of an "issue with a third-party provider."

Facebook has an automated system that checks for invalid configuration values throughout the site. If it finds an error, it replaces it with an updated value from its persistent store.

"This works well for a transient problem with the cache, but it doesn't work when the persistent store is invalid," Johnson wrote.

Unfortunately, Facebook made a …

9/11 words by Iran leader lead to U.S. walkout at U.N.

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MSNBC reports: The U.S. and European delegations walked out of the U.N. speech of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday after he said most people believe the U.S. government was behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks in order to assure Israel's survival.

More world news Obama: Killing Israelis 'is not resistance'
President Barack Obama told the U.N. General Assembly that killing Israelis "will do nothing to help the Palestinian people." Full story

In his speech to the annual General Assembly, Ahmadinejad said it was mostly U.S. government officials who believed a terrorist group was behind the suicide hijacking attacks that brought down New York's World Trade Center and hit the Pentagon.

Another theory, he said, was "that some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy, and its grips on the Middle East, in order to save the Zionist regime."

"The majority of the American people as wel…

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Mattheus Lian as featured on DNA.

Katy Perry & Elmo duet pulled for being too 'Hot'

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Give me a break America!

'Mad As Hell' site unites hidden airline fee opponents

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"Mad As Hell Day" is today, according to a group of consumer and professional travel organizations that have banded together to oppose hidden airline fees.

To mark the day, the American Society of Travel Agents, the Business Travel Coaliton and the Consumer Travel Alliance plan to submit a petition with thousands of signatures collected via MadAsHellAboutHiddenFees.com to the Department of Transportation in support of a proposed rule that would require airlines to clearly inform consumers about fees for optional services.

Today is the last day of a public comment period on a series of enhanced airline passenger protections proposed by the agency in June. The DOT expects to issue a final rule in spring 2011.

"It is absolutely imperative that consumers have the opportunity that they've had in the past to make comparative price decisions, to understand the total cost, the all-in price," said Paul Ruden, ASTA's senior vice president for legal and industry affairs.

Mark Zuckerberg donates $100 million to Newark public schools

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Mashable reports: Mark Zuckerberg is donating $100 million to the Newark public school system. The donation will be the first part of a foundation intended improve U.S. education.

Zuckerberg will announce the contribution tomorrow on Oprah, where he will be joined by Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The New York Times broke news of Zuckerberg's educational fund shortly before Forbes revealed that the Facebook founder and CEO had climbed to the thirty-fifth position on its annual list of wealthy Americans.

Forbes estimates that Zuckerberg is now worth $6.9 billion, putting him seven spots above Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who is estimated to be worth $6.1 billion, ranking 42 on Forbes' list.

Some will call the donation calculated. The timing of the announcement is in sync with the October 1 release of "The Social Network," based on Ben Mezrich's book "The Accidental Billionaires," neither of which protrays Zuckerberg in the most favo…

Starbucks to hike prices on 'labor intensive' drinks

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CNN Money reports: Starbucks drinks, long considered symbols of Americans' penchant to overspend, are about to get even pricier.

The coffee giant said late yesterday that it will raise the price of "labor-intensive and larger-sized" beverages because of soaring prices of green arabica coffee beans.

Starbucks said green coffee prices are close to a 13-year high, and costs for its other raw ingredients, including dairy, sugar and cocoa, have been volatile.

As CNNMoney reported earlier this month, coffee futures have climbed more than 40% since June.

"[This has] completely altered the economic and financial picture of many players in the coffee industry," Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz said in a written statement. "We have thus far chosen to absorb the price increases ourselves and not pass them on to our customers. But the extreme nature of the cost increases has made it untenable for us to continue to do so."

The prices of many drinks, including &…

Blockbuster files for Chapter 11 protection

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Blockbuster, the loss-making DVD rental chain, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US, after being hammered by online rental film services such as Netflix and DVD mail order companies.

But the company should swiftly re-emerge after a restructuring deal was agreed with creditors who include the veteran US investor, billionaire Carl Icahn.

Icahn is among a number of bondholders who will swap debt for equity in a revamped company that should emerge with borrowings of little more than $100m. He owns about one-third of Blockbuster's senior loan notes, but stepped down as a director of the company six months ago to play a major role in restructuring talks.

Blockbuster's "pre-arranged" bankruptcy protection move is designed to give it time to recapitalise its US operations and to focus on its growing online business.

Non-US subsidiaries are not involved in the bankruptcy proceedings, but hundreds more American stores could close on top of the 500 that have shu…

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FOX confirms Steven Tyler & Jennifer Lopez as Idol judges

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Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler will join Randy Jackson as American Idol judges next season, after months of turnover and speculation about the future of TV's top-rated show.

With pomp rivaling that of a U.S. Supreme Court appointment, Fox finally assembled the new pieces of the Idol panel that will be returned to its original three-member format for season 10.

Actress-singer-dancer Lopez and Aerosmith frontman Tyler will have the job of trying to match the offbeat chemistry of former judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul.

The likely Lopez-Tyler pairing had been reported so frequently that Fox would have had to produce Betty White and 50 Cent instead to generate any surprise.

Cowell announced last January that he planned to leave to launch a new talent show for Fox in 2011, with newcomers Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi exiting this summer. Abdul left in 2009 over a contract dispute.

Jackson will be the only original judge when American Idol returns in January.

(Via AP)

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90210 star Matt Lanter shows off bod in Beverly Hills shop window

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Not that it matters, but here's why.