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Showing posts from September, 2011

Congress gets its first openly gay parent

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The Huffington Post reports: Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) is a proud father of a newborn baby, making him the first openly gay parent in the U.S. Congress.

Today, Polis and his partner, Marlon Reis, sent out an announcement about the arrival of their son, Caspian Julius, who is 8 pounds, 12 ounces.

"Baby and parents are doing well, baby has learned to cry already! No gifts please, just nice thoughts for Caspian, humankind, the planet, and the universe!" read the announcement.

Polis and Reis have declined to comment on whether it was a surrogate pregnancy or an adoption.

“We are so thrilled for the congressman and his partner,” said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council, an organization that advocates for LGBT families. “Little Caspian Julius is so lucky to have two wonderful and loving dads. On behalf of America’s growing number of LGBT parents, we want to send the family our warmest wishes.”

According to the Family Equality Council, there are 1 milli…

Pentagon gives military Chaplains green light on gay marriage

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Towleroad reports: One of the most contentious issues about Don't Ask, Don't Tell's repeal has revolved around marriage equality.

Though at least one branch of the armed services, the Navy, said it would allow gay marriages after the discriminatory law's repeal, which happened on September 20th, officials later said "no go" to such events.

Now, the Pentagon announced today that military chaplains are free to preside over same-sex nuptials, both on and off government bases.

From The Washington Post:Some members of Congress have objected to military chaplains performing same-sex unions, saying it would violate the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

The Pentagon says a military chaplain may officiate at any private ceremony, but isn’t required if it would conflict with his or her religious or personal beliefs.

The Pentagon also says Defense Department property may be used for private functions, including religious and other ceremonies such as same-sex unions, as long as i…

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Julio Capeletti as featured on We Love Guys.

Adele
"Someone Like You"

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Deaths at SeaWorld may soon include its own

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Ingrid E. Newkirk is the president and founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The following is as editorial she wrote for the Huffington Post regarding the Orca's in captivity:SeaWorld got away with it once, using political bullying to force California's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) not only to back down from its prediction that it was "only a matter of time" before a trainer would be killed by an orca, but also to grovel and apologize for the inconvenience.

That's perhaps why SeaWorld thought it could bully OSHA again last year when trainer Dawn Brancheau was pulled underwater by the orca Tilikum and savaged so badly -- her scalp was peeled back, a limb was severed, and more -- that her family is fighting to stop the video, the one considered "too disturbing" to show on TV, from being released, ever. Rather than quietly accepting the penalty that it was assessed, SeaWorld has been defiant despite massive public c…

A sign of the times

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The story which accompanies this sign can be read at the Huffington Post.

(Via Kenneth in the 212)

First Lady Michelle Obama shops at Target

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--> She's just like us.

Producer: Cher-Gaga duet is "timeless" and "uplifting"

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The Advocate reports: "The Greatest Thing," the HIGHLY anticipated duet between Cher and Lady Gaga, might actually live up to its title, according to an MTV interview with co-writer and producer RedOne.

Last month Cher tweeted that she expects the first single from her forthcoming new album to be released in September, saying it "should be epic!"

RedOne tells MTV that both women are ecstatic about the final product.

"I think it's timeless," he says. "The beautiful thing about this song is, it's very uplifting, very uplifting. It's emotional, but it has dance on it, and it has a dance vibe on it. It's just a timeless song. You can play it with the guitar, the piano, with whatever instrument you want. You can sing it a cappella, you know what I mean, it's that kind of song. I'm very excited about that song. And it's an event. Cher and Lady Gaga: How big can it get?"
The full MTV interview with RedOne can be seen below:

Get M…

Newsies catches Broadway’s attention

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ArtsBeat reports: New York theater owners have approached Disney Theatrical Productions about mounting the company’s Newsies the Musical on Broadway this season after the new show received strongly positive reviews this week at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Newsies, based on a 1992 Disney film that was inspired by the 1899 New York City newsboys’ strike, would be an unexpected major entry to a Broadway season that has relatively few original musicals set to open.

Newsies also represents the second Disney-developed show to receive attention from Broadway theater owners this year; the other show, Peter and the Starcatcher, inspired by Peter Pan, is widely expected to open on Broadway in the spring after its critically acclaimed run at New York Theater Workshop last season.

Executives from the Nederlander Organization and Jujamcyn Theaters, two of Broadway’s major chains, have reached out to Disney to talk about opening Newsies in…

U.S. condemns Iranian pastor's conviction

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The White House yesterday condemned the conviction of an Iranian pastor, who may be executed in Tehran for refusing to recant his religious beliefs and convert from Christianity to Islam.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani "has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for people," a White House spokesman said in a statement. "That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency and breaches Iran's own international obligations."

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent advisory group appointed by the president and Congress to monitor religious freedom around the world, Wednesday expressed "deep concern" for Nadarkhani, the head of a network of Christian house churches in Iran.

After four days of an appeals trial for apostasy, Nadarkhani refused to recant his beliefs, the commission said. …

Study: Largest U.S. group of poor kids is now Hispanic

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For the first time in U.S. history, the largest single group of poor children in any racial or ethnic category is Hispanic, according to a new survey.

Calling it "a negative milestone" in Hispanics' explosive growth in the United States, the Pew Hispanic Center study said in 2010, 37.3% of poor children in the U.S. were Hispanic, compared with 30.5% white and 26.6% black.

The Pew analysis of new census data put the number of Hispanic children in poverty at 6.1 million in 2010.

This negative trend has emerged as the 2010 census confirmed for the first time that Hispanics are the nation's No. 2 group, surpassing African-Americans. Hispanics now make up 16.3% of the total American population -- but in the youth demographic, Hispanic kids comprise an even bigger share -- 23.1% of U.S. children are Latino, the study said.

The study found there are 6.1 million Latino children living in poverty, and more than two-thirds of them -- 4.1 million -- are children of immigrant parent…

Majority of states lining up to ditch No Child Left Behind

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States are lining up to drop out of No Child Left Behind, the education initiative that was promoted as a historic achievement of the Bush administration.

Since President Barack Obama announced last month that he would sign an executive order allowing states to request waivers from mandatory participation in the program, at least 27 have signaled that they will ask to opt out, and most others are reviewing their options.

Obama said states could seek waivers as long as they adopt higher standards than those mandated under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as No Child Left Behind is formally titled. The Education Department said most states had already done that, presumably making them eligible for waivers.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan — who himself had to follow No Child Left Behind when he was chief executive of the Chicago Public Schools from 2001 to 2008 — isn't just offering the waivers. He's actively encouraging education officials to apply for them, he said, bec…

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Will Brown as featured on DNA.

Filter
"Take a Picture"

Filter - Take A Pictureby Warner-Music

--> Just went one a Google mission trying to find this song.

New hunky Warbler to break up Kurt and Blaine

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It looks like the honeymoon is over for Kurt and Blaine. Sources confirm to TVLine that Glee has tapped up-and-coming theater actor Grant Gustin to play the recurring role of Sebastian, a gay Dalton Academy Warbler who sets his sights on Blaine.

Both Fox and the show’s producers declined to comment, but the buzz is that Sebastian is the polar opposite of Kurt in every possible way. He’s more like the male version of Santana in that he’s both promiscuous and kinda-sorta scheming.

“He’s our villain this season,” an insider tells Michael Ausiello. “It’s a major role.”

Glee producers found Gustin — whose credits include playing Baby John in the national tour of West Side Story — after an exhaustive, weeks-long casting search.

He’s slated to turn up in this season’s fifth episode.

Obama addresses binational couples, DOMA at Latino roundtable

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President Obama sat down with Latino news outlets yesterday for a roundtable. In addition to discussing topics such as immigration reform and Puerto Rico's federal future, the commander-in-chief addressed binational gay couples who want to petition for legal status for their foreign-born partners, something prohibited by the Defense of Marriage Act.

Obama appears optimistic about the issue, telling reporters that he thinks courts will soon decide on DOMA, legislation he calls unconstitutional and refuses to defend, and he believes that his stance will help persuade judges toward the side of right.

"The position that my administration has taken, I think, will have a significant influence on the court as it examines the constitutionality of this law," said the president. "Once that law is put down -- and I don't know what the ruling would be -- addressing these bi-national issues could flow from that decision."

The president failed to make a prediction on pendin…

Stephen King at work on sequel to The Shining

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File this under: Exciting book news! Stephen King is writing a sequel to The Shining!

King, who crafted the novel that was adapted into the (terrifying) 1980 film starring Jack Nicholson [Ed. note: One of my favorite films of all time], read from excerpts of The Shining's sequel, entitled Dr. Sleep, at a recent appearance at George Mason University, Slashfilm reports.

The novel reintroduces The Shining's main character, Danny Torrance, as a grown-up. In the sequel, Torrance is now 40, and working in a hospice for the terminally ill in New York. Torrance has special powers though, and will visit the patients as they're about to "cross over" to help them move on without pain.

As King explained to the crowd gathered at GMU:
"I've always wondered what happened to the kid. People say to me sometimes, do you keep an idea notebook? And I don't. If you don't keep a notebook a kind of Darwinian process takes place, where the bad ones just go away. The good on…

Witness: Jackson's children reacted in horror

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News roundup

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--> World news: Four Republican senators traveled to Libya today to meet with the nation's new rulers, the highest-profile American delegation to visit the country since the ouster of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The four lawmakers (pictured from left to right) Marco Rubio, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Mark Kirk planned to meet with members of the National Transitional Council, which is now governing Libya after the rebels forced Gadhafi from power. Gadhafi's whereabouts remain unknown, but the new leaders suspect he is hiding in the southern desert of the North African nation.

The senators, whose brief visit was largely shrouded in secrecy, also planned to tour Martyrs' Square and hold a news conference with reporters.

After months of fighting, anti-Gadhafi forces seized control of Tripoli and much the country late last month. Battles still continue in three areas — Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte, Bani Walid and the southern city of Sabha. (Via AP)

--> US news

Tony Bennett becomes oldest living artist to top Billboard 200

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ArtsBeat reports: Last week Tony Bennett, 85, released Duets II, which features his collaborations with Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, Carrie Underwood and many others younger than him. [Ed. note: I can report that the album is indeed fantastic]. He also sang a belated birthday concert at the Metropolitan Opera that was attended by Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Now the sales tallies are in, and Duets II sold 179,000 copies, according to the tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan, easily beating titles by Lady Antebellum, Adele and Lil Wayne to top Billboard’s standard album chart.

(Before Mr. Bennett’s achievement with Duets II, the oldest living artist to reach the top of the chart was Bob Dylan with Together Through Life in 2009, when Mr. Dylan was 67.)

Last week’s top album, Lady Antebellum’s Own the Night, fell to No. 2 with 125,000 units sold, a 64% decline. Adele’s 21, by far the biggest hit of the year, also fell one spot, to No. 3, but its 117,000 albums sold represented only a 2% drop from the …

Ashton Kutcher bares all on set of Men

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Apparently Ashton Kutcher's nudity doesn't stop on Ellen. He also made a big splash on the Sept. 19th premiere of Two and a Half Men when new star turned up sans clothes.

The actor's debut on the show ended with him revealing he was buying the newly deceased Charlie Harper's home, while in nothing but his birthday suit. (The posters did tease that "all will be revealed ..." during the premiere!) Now, a source with ties to Men has revealed to Life & Style that the actor really was revealing everything on set.

"Actors usually wear underwear in front of the studio audience, but not Ashton," the source told the magazine. "He walked around buck naked take after take."

But the nudity wasn't a one time deal. The source pointed out that the story line for Kutcher's character, heartbroken Internet billionaire Walden Schmidt, calls for quite a bit of nakedness.

"Now everyone in Hollywood is clamoring for tickets to the tapings," th…

The Funnies

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Pick Me Up of the Day

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Johan Akan as featured on Socialite Life.

Jill Scott ft. Anthony Hamilton
"So In Love"

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces nominations

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The Marquee Blog reports: The nominations for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 have been released, and it’s an interesting list.

Ballots will be sent out to over 500 voters, who will choose the artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.

The nominees are: Beastie Boys, The Cure, Donovan, Eric B. & Rakim, Guns 'N Roses, Heart, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Freddie King, Laura Nyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rufus with Chaka Khan, The Small Faces/The Faces, The Spinners, Donna Summer, and War.

“The 2012 Nominees embody the broad scope of what ‘rock and roll’ means,” said Joel Peresman, President and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.

According to the press release, to be eligible for nomination, “an individual artist or band must have released its first single or album at least 25 years prior to the year of nomination.” That means the 2012 nominees must have released their first recording no later than 1986. (Sorry, Justin …

Chilling audio, photos at trial of Jackson’s doctor

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Census: 131,729 gay couples say they're married

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The AP reports: Increasingly visible, the number of gay Americans telling the U.S. census they're living with same-sex partners nearly doubled in the past decade, to about 650,000 couples. And more than 130,000 recorded partners as husband or wife.

Census figures released yesterday provide a rare snapshot of married and unmarried same-sex couples in the U.S. based on the government count conducted last year, when gay marriage was legal in five states and the District of Columbia. It comes at a time when public opposition to gay marriage is easing and advocacy groups are seeking a state-by-state push for broader legal rights.

Some 131,729 same-sex couples checked "husband" or "wife" boxes on their decennial census forms, the first time people could do so, after gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts starting in 2004.

That 2010 tally of married gay couples is higher than the actual number of legal marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships in the U.S. Eve…

GLAAD: Fewer LGBT characters on primetime

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The Marquee Blog reports: The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has released its 16th annual Where We Are on TV report, which measures the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters on TV.

And while the shows that make up the 2011-2012 season might look promising, GLAAD says networks have taken a step in the wrong direction as far as inclusion is concerned.

Down 10% since last season, LGBT characters account for 2.9% of the scripted series regulars currently on network TV.

With 6.8% of regular characters identifying as LGBT, Fox came in first place, dethroning ABC - which had topped the list of inclusive networks for the past six years.

Perhaps ABC’s 3.4% of LGBT characters - including Modern Family’s Mitchell and Cameron, played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet, respectively - was no match for Fox’s power duo: Glee’s Kurt and Blaine.

Thanks to True Blood, BoardwalkEmpire and Hung, HBO features the most leading and supporting LGBT characters on cable …

Anderson Cooper eats spinach for the first time

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In lighter Anderson Cooper news: He fessed up about his eating habits yesterday on his show, which was about disordered eaters. Anderson does not drink hot beverages, or eat green vegetables.

So he tried coffee, spinach, and brussels sprouts for the first time.

Jamey Rodemeyer's sister is now being bullied

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Yesterday, Towleroad posted an interview with the parents of gay teen Jamey Rodemeyer, who committed suicide recently after years of bullying. In it, Rodemeyer's mother said that his sister was taunted recently at a homecoming dance by the same bullies who went after Jamey.

Following a Lady Gaga tribute to Jamey, the bullies yelled "We're glad you're dead", and "You're better off dead." The bullies ran from the dance when they realized they were going to get in trouble.

Rodemeyer's sister talked about the ugly chanting to Anderson Cooper last night.

Said Alyssa: "I don't know who would have the heart to disrespect someone even after they're dead. It's mind-blowing."

Dancing With the Stars makes its second cut

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[Editor's note] Caution: this post contains a spoiler.

It was the dreaded second results show last night for Dancing with the Stars.

If Elisabetta Canalis is eager to learn more Russian, she will need to purchase a Rosetta Stone CD, as she and new pro Val Chmerkovskiy were eliminated by the voters. Viewers only know Elisabetta as an Italian actress who was in a relationship with George Clooney. Without much of a fan base, she was booted off the dance floor despite a third-place score of 21 for her quickstep with Val on Monday.

She thanked Val, saying that it was "a great adventure" and "a great experience." I'll bet that arguing with Val during rehearsals.

The highlight of the whole show was Demi Lovato, who sang her new single "Skyscraper." See performance below:

Harry Potter star is now a shelter dog

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In heart-breaking news: Harry Potter fans around the world saw him on the silver screen as Padfoot in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, third installment in the boy wizard's film series. But that was a long time ago in dog years, and today Berry -- the black German shepherd who played the animal avatar of wizard Sirius Black in the 2004 box-office smash -- is homeless.

Berry's owner, stuntman and trainer Paul Thompson, turned Berry and a second canine actor named Porridge over to German Shepherd Dog Rescue in the United Kingdom, saying the demands of his job took him away from home too much to properly care for them.

Berry (short for Shadowberry), now 10, and Porridge, who was in several British TV series and is now 13, have been together since Berry was a pup and now can't live apart from each other.

On the German Shepherd Dog Rescue website, Berry himself posts a plaintive plea for a home for himself and his pal, a German shepherd-Labrador mix:

"I love people an…

Young people increasingly believe 'voting is worthless'

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Nicholas Kulish of the New York Times writes about the growing disillusionment of 20 somethings around the world:"Our parents are grateful because they’re voting,” said Marta Solanas, 27, referring to older Spaniards’ decades spent under the Franco dictatorship. “We’re the first generation to say that voting is worthless.”

Economics have been one driving force, with growing income inequality, high unemployment and recession-driven cuts in social spending breeding widespread malaise. Alienation runs especially deep in Europe, with boycotts and strikes that, in London and Athens, erupted into violence.

But even in India and Israel, where growth remains robust, protesters say they so distrust their country’s political class and its pandering to established interest groups that they feel only an assault on the system itself can bring about real change.

Increasingly, citizens of all ages, but particularly the young, are rejecting conventional structures like parties and trade unions in f…

News roundup

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--> Obama news: President Barack Obama will answer questions about issues in the Hispanic community during an online roundtable this morning.

The event will be moderated by Jose Siade, Yahoo's editor-in-chief for U.S. Hispanic and Latin America. Obama will respond to questions submitted by readers of Yahoo, MSN Latino, and AOL Latino/Huffington Post Latino Voice on issues that affect the Latino community.

The president is expected to address the economy, education, health care and immigration.

The event called "Open for Questions With President Obama" or "El Presidente Obama Te Responde" will be streamed live on the White House website.

The event comes a week after the Democratic National Committee said it is reaching out to Spanish-language voters as part of its push to sell Obama's new jobs plan. (Via CNN)

--> Election 2012: Florida is now expected to hold its presidential primary on the last day in January 2012, a move likely to throw the carefully arra…

Jerry Curl celebrates its 4th birthday today

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[Editor's note] Four years ago today, I started Jerry Curl. Fast forward to present day and not much as changed. Movies, music, gay issues, politics, and "whatever random stuff I come across" remain hallmarks of the Curl.

A lot has happened in the four years I've been at the helm of this blog. America got its first African American President. It's also suffered through an oil spill, hurricanes, a drought, and wildfires. Sadly, the shuttle program ended after 30 years of space exploration. The Oprah Winfrey Show ended after 25 years of self-exploration. In sad news: Benizar Bhutto was assassinated. Icons Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Elizabeth Taylor passed away; as did my dear Elizabeth Edwards and three (1-2-3) of my Golden Girls.

In LGBT rights news, gay folks in Connecticut, Maine, Washington DC, and New York were allowed to marry. Then Maine lost it. California came close, but then Prop 8 was upheld, and then was ruled unconstitutional. Dustin Lance Blac…

Chaz Bono dances the Quickstep on DWTS

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Results show airs tonight at 9PM on ABC. Demi Lovato will be the guest performer!

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Fardin Popal as featured on BDD.

Dodgers say It Gets Better

Towleroad reports: The Los Angeles Dodgers are the latest MLB franchise to reach out to bullied teens with a video for the It Gets Better project.

The Dodgers' contribution features several Dodger players and coaches including Don Mattingly, James Loney, Matt Guerrier, Jamey Carroll, A.J. Ellis, Rod Barajas and Hiroki Kuroda.

"The Dodgers have been outspoken advocates for equality and against all societal prejudices dating back to the days of Jackie Robinson," said Dodgers Senior Vice President, Public Affairs Howard Sunkin. "Our club wholeheartedly supports an end to bullying and violence against LGBT youth. There is zero tolerance for violence of any kind for any reason in our community."

Playboy Club actor reveals he's gay

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Sean Maher, an actor best known for his role as Dr. Simon Tam in Firefly, and now the recently-premiered NBC drama The Playboy Club, tells Entertainment Weekly that like his closeted character on the show, he's gay.

“I’ve never discussed it publicly... I’ve never been asked about it publicly, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t paint a different picture."

Maher said that when he moved to L.A. in '97 for a short-lived cop role, he was told by the Hollywood machine to stay in the closet:
"I’m 22, I move to L.A., and it’s such a cliché, but the day I arrive, publicists from the show took me out to The Ivy for lunch...They’re telling me, ‘You know, gosh, we’d really appreciate it if you could keep your girlfriend on the side because we want to appeal to the female demographic of the show.’ ...At that moment, I didn’t think to say, ‘Oh, I’m gay,’ because right before I left New York [where he went to college at NYU], I had my manager tell me: ‘You need to get a girl on …

Jon Stewart rips Rick Santorum on DADT, GOP boos of gay soldier

Museum of Sex offers snapshots of a secret life

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Photo caption: A staged Polaroid photograph, shot by Samuel Steward in his apartment in Chicago around 1952, of a scene from Jean Genet’s “Querelle de Brest.”

ArtsBeat reports: During the 1950s, a professor and tattoo artist named Samuel Steward chronicled his sex life in drawings, letters, photographs, sexual paraphernalia and other items, and in so doing created documentary evidence of his experience of gay life and homosexuality in American culture at that time.

Obscene Diary, an exhibition at the Museum of Sex that includes many of Steward’s personal artifacts, drawings and photographs, is a trove of information about how a community of gay men lived in the 50s and 60s. None of the items in the exhibition were seen during Steward’s lifetime except within the confines of his home.

In this multimedia feature, Justin Spring, the author of the biography Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade, and a co-curator of the exhibitio…

A noteworthy paper battle (get it?!)

Gold dispensing ATMs arrive in China

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China’s wealthy can now get up to 2.5 kilograms of gold via ATMs in the city’s upscale clubs and private banks, state media reported.

The machines made their debut in a Beijing shopping district on Sunday, according to AFP. Limit for maximum withdrawal is set at 1 million yuan, or about $157,000 worth of gold. Cash or credit card accepted.

The machines, manufactured by TG-Gold-Super-Markt.De in Germany, first debuted in Europe in 2009 and by late 2010 arrived in the U.S.

Since the credit crisis, the value of gold has skyrocketed as a safe haven investment choice, selling for just over $500 an ounce in 2007 to recently cresting near a record high of $1,900 per ounce in August.

However, the timing of the new ATMs for China’s nouveau riche could be better. In recent days gold prices have plummeted, dropping $100 on Friday alone – the steepest drop since 1980.

Why the sudden drop? Fears of the slowing of the global economy raises the specter of deflation. "People are quickly coming to the…

Amazon's grip tightens on the entire book-publishing chain

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In Who-Didn't-See-This-Coming news: Amazon's low-priced bestsellers and Kindle e-reader are famous for changing the book industry. What's not so well known is how deeply Amazon's tentacles reach into all parts of the industry, including its growing interest in inking deals with authors to publish some of the hit books Amazon sells.

Booksellers and publishers are crying foul, saying they're being cut out of the chain by an aggressive Goliath. But some authors who have recently signed with Amazon Publishing say the company simply offered them a better, fairer deal than traditional publishers.

And those Amazon deals are a boon for consumers, the authors say, because they bring earlier book releases and cheaper prices.

Amazon quietly launched its own book imprint in 2009. The effort expanded the next year into a line of foreign translations and another of "manifestos" from thought leaders, but it stayed fairly under-the-radar until this May, when Amazon brought …

Zuckerberg lays down the law: One timeline to rule them all

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Dominic Basulto of the Washington Post reports:
To borrow a metaphor from the original California Gold Rush - Facebook is now in the position to distribute the picks and shovels — or ”apps” — that enable companies to mine personal profiles for Web gold. With its newest changes, Facebook wants nothing less than to make what you listen to, read, watch and share online widely available to your friends online. This overhaul in the Facebook personal profile — when it gets rolled out to hundreds of millions of users at one time this week — has the ability to impact how we use the Web and how companies are able to monetize our personal information.

At stake is the answer to this question: Can any company finally connect our online selves and our offline selves? The biggest of the changes announced was the creation of the Facebook Timeline, which should roll out to all users by the end of this week. What once were ephemera in your life — the breathless updates about the things you buy, watch o…

Washington Monument to be closed indefinitely

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The National Park Service said yesterday that the Washington Monument will be closed indefinitely and that the 5.8-magnitude earthquake in August had done more damage to it than had been previously disclosed.

Officials said a “debris field,” made up mostly of mortar that had fallen during the quake, had been found at the base and that more substantial pieces of stone had fallen loose inside the monument.

The Park Service posted a video taken from a security camera in the observation deck near the top during the quake. It shows debris falling from the ceiling, the entire structure shaking violently, and terrified visitors falling and running for safety.

In addition, officials said, the elevator was damaged, possibly by its counterweights, and would need to be repaired. Mall superintendent Bob Vogel said the elevator was only partly functional.

Another Park Service official said the elevator could reach only the 250-foot level of the 555-foot-tall monument.

Vogel said the worst damage happen…

News roundup

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--> US news: After weeks of political brinkmanship in Congress, the threat of a partial government shutdown appeared to ease yesterday with the disclosure that money to aid victims of natural disasters may last through the end of the budget year after all.

The revised estimate suggested there would be no interruption in assistance in areas battered by disasters such as Hurricane Irene and last summer's tornados in Joplin, Mo., and also that lawmakers could act quickly on gridlocked legislation that is needed to keep the government running normally when the new budget year begins on Saturday.

Even so, there was no formal announcement that the impasse had been resolved. As a result, it was unclear what the immediate impact would be in the Senate, where a late-afternoon vote was set on legislation that combined the two issues -- short-term disaster relief and longer-range overall government funding -- into one. (Via AP)

--> World news: An elder from Muammar Gaddafi's tribe ins…

Elton John biopic in the works

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Idolator reports: Elton John is the latest iconic musician to score his own big-screen biopic, though, like the man himself, it will be highly unconventional.

Rocketman will tell the story of the singer’s career, and is described as “a biographical musical fantasy that will weave together John’s life and his music” and will be told in “a non-linear and hyper-visual manner.” <-- I'm sold.

The project will be written by Lee Hall, who penned both the stage and screen version of Billy Elliott. This will be the second collaboration between Hall and John, who composed the score for the Tony-winning musical.

Elton's husband, David Furnish, is also working on the project. “We’ve always thought there was a wonderful cinematic opportunity to tell Elton’s life story,” Furnish tells EW. “But we wanted to wait until the time was exactly right. Elton feels very excited about doing it now—he’s in a very happy place in life right now and thinks it’s a good time to artistically reflect on the …

Anne Hathaway's full Catwoman costume revealed

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Anne Hathaway's diet of "kale and dust" is clearly working, at least according to this latest photo from the set of The Dark Knight Rises.

Hathaway plays Selina Kyle in the third installment of the Batman trilogy, and as in the comic books, it's obvious that in the film iteration Kyle transforms into Catwoman.

--> Looks fierce to me. I mean, Michelle Pfeiffer will forever be the ONLY Catwoman in my book. But lovely Anne is workin' it.

Dark Knight Rises doesn't hit theaters until July 2012, but in the mean time, you can watch the film's official trailer here.

Photo caption: Anne Hathaway and Gary Oldman are seen on the set of the next Batman film.

(Via the Scoop)