Posts

Showing posts from April, 2012

Sam Sparro
"I Wish I Never Met You"

Obama summarizes progress toward LGBT equality

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Towleroad reports: Maybe to coincide with his endorsement of the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the White House's screening of Bully on the National Day of Silence, or maybe to divert attention from his unwillingness to sign an executive order banning workplace discrimination against LGBT folk, President Obama and co. have taken to Twitter to explain what the Obama White House has done for the cause of LGBT equality.

It's quite a lot. Full document after the jump:

Cher makes surprise appearance at GLAAD Awards to honor Chaz

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Cher made a surprise appearance at the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles to honor Chaz with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award.

Pick Me Up of the Day

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French Rugby player Maxime Mermoz as featured on Towleroad.

Magic Mike trailer released

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--> Remarkable. They've somehow excluded ALL of the sexy from a male stripper movie trailer.

Weekend box office

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Weekend Top Five:

#1 Think Like a Man ($33M)
#2 The Lucky One ($22.8M)
#3 The Hunger Games ($14.5M)
#4 Chimpanzee ($10.2M)
#5 The Three Stooges ($9.2M)

RIP Dick Clark

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A few words on meeting Chaz Bono

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[Editor’s note] I met Cher’s son last night and I’m alive to tell the tale.

The sheer impossibility of everything in that sentence is baffling but true. Anyone who’s ever met me knows of my love for Cher. It’s a love that runs deep and has been well-documented throughout the years. In recent years, that love and admiration has extended to her son Chaz Bono.

Few people can imagine my utter shock and awe when told that he was coming to my university for a speaking engagement. To say that I was floored is to put it mildly.

As part of its Gay Pride Week, FIU invited Chaz to its Biscayne Bay campus to speak about his transition. Superbly moderated by Elise Withers, a political science major at FIU, Chaz opened up about his childhood, his parents, his struggles with drugs and sexuality, and his new role as a Trans advocate. It was a candid and thought-provoking conversation with a man who has been through more than most.

Perhaps the best and most revealing part of the evening was the audience …

Reflections on Miami Beach Pride

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[Editor's note] I can’t pretend to know much about today’s gays. In truth, talk of the Kardashian’s, Nicki Minaj, or the “Real” Housewives of Where Ever usually befuddles me. For better or worse, my interests are of a decidedly older generation. I don’t know if that’s an indictment of today’s culture or not, but I often feel that the gays of today are being short-changed on every front of entertainment.

In any event, I think that Gay Pride Parades are the great equalizers of the community. It doesn’t matter if you know Judy Garland or not (:: bites fist ::), or if you’re young, old, big, small, classy or trashy-- these events celebrate diversity in all its wondrous fabulousity.

Well on Sunday, Miami Beach held their Pride Parade and I can report that it was great fun. Although I missed most of the parade (including Chaz Bono as Grand Marshal), I enjoyed walking around in a sea of friendly faces and pretty colors. It was a celebratory atmosphere on an iconic stretch of beach that le…

Review: Mirror Mirror

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[Editor's note] It’s a tough time to be a good movie nowadays. I mean, just look at what’s popular: an American Pie remake? A Three Stooges movie? Titanic?! In this blogger’s not-so-humble opinion, there’s something seriously wrong with the American viewing public. But this isn’t about what’s wrong with movies. This is about one film that got it all right.

Last week, I went to see the tragically underrated, gaytastically funny Mirror Mirror.

As a reimaging of the age-old Snow White tale, this film took every creative liberty imaginable and improved it by leaps and bounds. The story mostly follows an evil but campy Queen (played to the hilt by Julia Roberts) as she steals control of a kingdom. To do so, she exiles its rightful heir, Snow White (played somewhat lack-lusterly by Lily Collins). Left to fend for herself in the woods, she comes across seven resourceful rebels (read: dwarves), charms them as only pretty lost princess’ can do, and enlists them to win back her birthright.

Cle…

Weekend box office

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Weekend Top Five:

#1 The Hunger Games ($21.5M)
#2 The Three Stooges ($17.1M)
#3 The Cabin in the Woods ($14.8M)
#4 Titanic ($11.6M)
#5 American Reunion ($10.6M)

Remembering Titanic 100 years later

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More pictures can be seen here.

'It Gets Bigger': A necessary parody

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Towleroad reports: The folks over at Epic Level Entertainment and director Josh Staman teamed up to create this video, "It Gets Bigger," a PSA telling young men around the world that, well, it will get bigger.

"It Gets Bigger" is obviously a loving a take on Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" campaign. And Savage must have liked it, because he posted the video over at Slog.

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Louis Mayhew as featured on Homotography.

New Zealand man crowned 'Mr. Gay World' in Johannesburg

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Andreas Derleth, a stationery store manager from New Zealand, won the Mr. Gay World 2012 competition in Johannesburg this past weekend. Deets on Derleth over at Towleroad.

StuffNZ reports that The Mr. Gay competition took place over four days and included various challenges, including a photo, sports, fashion, swim suit, public speaking, and local outreach challenges. On the contest's website, it said the winner would not only have the inner beauty of confidence, self-assurance, charisma and natural leadership abilities, but would also take care of his physical beauty. Prizes included $25,000 in travel vouchers to enable the winner to spread his message around the world.

--> This is neither here nor there for me. The only reason for this post in that picture. Looks to me like we're all winners here. You're welcome babes.

The Solo Strips of Broadway Bares are here

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Photo caption: Pictured above from left: Guto Bittencourt, Adam Fleming and lower right, Sam Cahn

The Advocate reports: The Broadway Bares performers make raising money for Equity Fights AIDS so much fun you might feel a little guilty.

Solo Strips harkens back to the Broadway Bares roots, when creator and executive producer Jerry Mitchell organized a benefit burlesque show featuring himself and six friends performing original strips at a bar for a $10 donation plus whatever tips the audience gave the dancers.

Solo Strips is a lead-up event to the big show, Broadway Bares, on June 17, and this year's Broadway Bares theme is Happy Endings — the fairy tale kind.

Pictured here are all the featured dancers for this year's event to be held May 6 at XL Club.

For more information: broadwaycares.org/bares2012solostrips.

Apple rejects e-book pricing collusion charge

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Reuters reports: Apple has rejected the U.S. Justice Department's allegations that it colluded with publishers over electronic book pricing, calling the charges "simply not true".

The U.S. government had sued Apple and five publishers, saying they conspired to fix the prices of electronic books. It has reached a settlement with three of the publishers that could lead to cheaper e-books for consumers.

In an email to Reuters, Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr confirmed the company's position, which earlier appeared in a Wall Street Journal article.

"The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon's monopolistic grip on the publishing industry," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris told the Journal.

Kerris defended the current pricing structure as parallel to Apple's mobile software store.

"Just as we have allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore," she told newspaper…

Stolen Cézanne painting worth $110 million found in Serbia

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Photo caption: A Serbian special police officer guards what is believed to be the impressionist masterpiece "Boy in a Red Waistcoat" by Paul Cezanne in Belgrade yesterday.

ArtsBeat reports: In 2008 three masked gunmen walked into a private museum in Zurich, grabbed four paintings – a Cézanne, a Degas, a van Gogh and a Monet – threw them into a van and drove off. Now Serbian police have recovered the Cézanne, according to Reuters.

“We believe the painting is Cézanne’s ‘Boy in a Red Waistcoat’ and three suspects were detained in connection with that,’’ a Serbian police official told Reuters. “This painting is worth tens of millions of euros."

The heist, which took place at the Emil Georg Bührle Foundation museum, one of the top private museums for Impressionist and post-Impressionist art in Europe, was said to be the largest art theft in Swiss history. At the time of the incident, the four paintings were estimated to be worth a total of $163 million. Days after the theft two…

Cyndi Lauper memoir due out this fall

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The AP reports: Cyndi Lauper says her book will show her true colors.

The award-winning performer has a memoir coming out this fall, Atria Books announced Monday.

Cyndi Lauper will cover the singer's story from her troubled childhood to superstardom in the 1980s to the "ups and downs" that followed.

In a statement issued by Atria, the 58-year-old Lauper said: "Sometimes I come off good, sometimes not so good."

Lauper's hits include "True Colors," "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "Time After Time."

--> In Lauper-related news: A pal of mine gave me the DVD of her Memphis show a few months ago and I can report that it's pretty terrific.

I don't think it got a lot of buzz because it's not what she's used to doing.

It's called To Memphis With Love and it's Cyndi as we've never seen her. Turns out, her slightly raspy voice is perfectly suited for the blues and that's exactly what she does here. That, …

Details emerge on J.K. Rowling's next novel

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The Marquee Blog reports: When J.K. Rowling announced that she was working on her first novel specifically geared toward adults, the demographic was about all fans had to go on. But now we have a few more details - and a title.

Rowling's next book will be called The Casual Vacancy, publisher Little, Brown has announced.

A book description on the publisher's site reveals that The Casual Vacancy will center on a town named Pagford, a seeming "English idyll" that's thrown into shock after the unexpected death of 40-something Barry Fairweather.

The description presents Pagford as "a little town" that is not as calm as it might seem on the surface. Behind the "pretty facade is a town at war...Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils."

So when Fairweather's passing leaves a vacancy on the parish council, that "empty seat...becomes the catalyst for the biggest…

Danny Blu
"Set Me on Fire"

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Bullies, punks, and a Pontius Pilate principal are the players in this music video from NYC-based recording artist Danny Blu. In it, Jesus Christ features as a bullied teen.

Remembering the late, great Josephine Baker

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Life has a great write up on Josephine Baker today, 37 year after she passed:

No American public figures — not Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, not Louise Brooks, not even the inimitable Louis Armstrong — embodied the “Jazz Age” of the 1920s more perfectly than Josephine Baker, the Missouri native who became a legendary performer in Paris in the Twenties and Thirties.

In fact, for millions of people (Europeans, for the most part, but also others all over the globe) who read about, heard about or saw the “Bronze Venus” on stage or in movies at the height of her career, Baker was the Jazz Age — a gorgeous, pyrotechnic talente who, in the words of none other than Ernest Hemingway, “was the most sensational woman anyone ever saw.”

Years after her greatest popularity, but when she was still a beloved singer and dancer in her adopted France and elsewhere in Europe, Baker returned to America — specifically, to Broadway — in 1951, and was a smash hit decades after she left home for less Puritanical a…

Andrew Christian models are gonna “F*ck You Betta”

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(Via Queerty)

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Hyugo as featured on DNA.

Texts From Hillary creators invited to State Dept.

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The two gay guys who came up with the hilarious Texts From Hillary Tumblr were invited to the State Department to meet the object of their affection.

Stacy Lambe and Adam Smith, the gay men behind the hilarious, super-viral Texts from Hillary Tumblr, received a submission from Madame Secretary and an invitation to the State Department, where they went on Tuesday.

They received the submission and on Monday:"It was sort of unbelievable. Her staff had emailed us yesterday, said that they liked the site and that the Secretary wanted to meet us. They asked if we could come over to the State Department, and we of course said, 'Sure, we'd love to!'"Clinton told them her favorite submission was the one featuring Ryan Gosling.

Marc Anthony files for divorce from Jennifer Lopez

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CNN reports: Marc Anthony filed divorce papers yesterday, seeking to officially end his marriage with entertainer Jennifer Lopez, a court spokesman said.

The singer filed the paperwork in Los Angeles Superior Court, the spokesman said.

The couple announced that they were ending their marriage in July.

Anthony and Lopez wed in 2004, in what was the third marriage for Lopez and the second for Anthony, who had been married to former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres.

"This was a very difficult decision," the couple said in a statement released in July. "We have come to amicable conclusion on all matters. It is a painful time for all involved, and we appreciate the respect of our privacy at this time."

--> Look at her up there. She cares not at all. I wouldn't either with Casper Smart around.

Anderson Cooper gets a bad case of the giggles

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RJ Berger actor Paul Iacono comes out

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Paul Iacono, the 23-year-old star of MTV's The Hard Times of RJ Berger, has come out of the closet in an interview with the Village Voice's Michael Musto. Iacono, who's starring in a new play at NYC's Ars Nova called Justin Sayre Is Alive And Well...Writing and a new MTV show called Kenzie's Scale, tells Musto, "I think it's the right time to say something."

Iacono says he grew up in a traditional Italian family and pretended he was straight after his dad found an email he had written to a male date, but came out to them a few years later. His character in Kenzie's Scale realizes he's gay after moving to NYC to attend college. He tells Musto:The whole reason we came up with Kenzie's Scale is to give young gays characters to look up to. It's great that we have Chris Colfer, but we need more characters. I was so moved by your comment on Facebook that 'If I'd grown up with gay TV icons that were out, I'd have been so much bette…

Gay Iraqi man describes his perilous plight

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The alleged slaying of as many as 58 "emo" Iraqi citizens who are either gay or believed to be gay has sparked concerns from international human rights organizations, with many fearing Iraq may be returning to the rampant level of hate crimes against homosexuals as seen in 2009.

The Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)recently released a video which aims to bring the issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Iraqis into focus.

IRAP works directly with those most at risk in Iraq to help them relocate and secure their safety, and are requesting this video be shared again to raise awareness about the plight of gays in Iraq and the middle east.

In the video, 'Ahmed', a young doctor, describes how a young man he was in love with and financially supporting for four years betrayed him by sending intimate photographs to his family after Ahmed refused to continue supporting him for fear his parents would find out.

Soon after, six of Ahmed's uncles receive…

Psychiatrist behind controversial 'ex-gay' study retracts claims

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The HuffPo Gay Voices reports: In a move that will no doubt rankle the efforts of anti-gay institutions, the psychiatrist who published a controversial 2001 study proclaiming that "highly motivated" gay and lesbian people could change their sexual orientation is now retracting his initial claims.

Psychiatrist Bob Spitzer, who had ironically led the effort to declassify homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973, told American Prospect that he now wants to retract his study, while addressing several of the ample criticisms against its findings.

"In retrospect, I have to admit I think the critiques are largely correct," said the 80-year-old Spitzer, who is now retired and suffering from Parkinson's disease. “The findings can be considered evidence for what those who have undergone ex-gay therapy say about it, but nothing more.”

After noting that failed attempts to rid oneself of homosexual attractions "can be quite harmful," he then requested writer Gabriel…

Matt Zarley
"Trust Me"

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Matt Zarley, who has more chest hair and mustache than Magnum PI, takes the plunge into politics with this lighthearted 70's inspired meditation on a closeted presidential contender and his unraveling.

(Via Towleroad)

Madonna has biggest second week drop in chart history

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Madonna earned a dubious distinction this week with the biggest second-week sales drop for a No. 1 album in at least 21 years.

Her latest album, MDNA, opened at No. 1 last week, but its sales have plunged. It landed at No. 8 this week with 48,000 copies sold, down from 359,000. That is an 86.7% drop, which Billboard says is the biggest second-week decline for a No. 1 album since 1991, when the magazine began using SoundScan’s data to compile its charts.

Madonna has done some high-profile promotion of the album, including playing the Super Bowl halftime show, a pop-in at the recent Ultra Music Festival in Miami, a Facebook interview and Twitter Q&A, but the combination of lukewarm reviews and two singles that failed to gain traction may have done the album in.

MDNA has not produced anything like a hit single, no radio play or anything to provide organic promotion. And the reviews (mine included) have not been kind.

If the numbers hold, Madonna's drop will outpace one of her bigges…

Supreme Court justices celebrate 30 years since court's first female

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The HuffPo reports: The only four women to serve as Supreme Court justices gathered last night to celebrate Sandra Day O'Connor's pathbreaking arrival on the bench three decades ago.

O'Connor, who retired in January 2006, was joined at the Newseum by sitting justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan for a wide-ranging panel discussion extending from the impact of O'Connor's nomination on the other three women to the state of the court today.

President Ronald Reagan, fulfilling a campaign promise, nominated O'Connor in July 1981, when she was serving in relative obscurity as a state judge on an intermediate appeals court in Arizona. The Senate unanimously confirmed her nomination that September.

"It's all right to be the first to do something, but I certainly didn't want to be the last woman on the Supreme Court," O'Connor said, reflecting on the responsibility she felt as the lone representative of her sex among the nine …

Facebooking at work is not a federal crime — even when forbidden

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Updating your Facebook status from your work computer — even if it violates your company's policy — isn't a federal crime, according to a ruling by a San Francisco federal appeals court.

Sure it sounds extreme that such a question was even pondered by a federal court. But Facebooking and similar computer-based goldbricking could've been considered a violation of the the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) if the San Francisco's Ninth Circuit didn't dismiss "charges that would have criminalized any employee's use of a company's computers in violation of corporate policy," notes the Electronic Frontier Foundation:In (U.S. v. Nosal), the government prosecuted an ex-employee of an executive recruiting firm on the theory that he induced current company employees to use their legitimate credentials to access a proprietary database and provide him with information in violation of corporate computer-use policy. The government claimed that the violation o…

Justice dept. sues Apple over price-fixing scheme

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The U.S. Department of Justice yesterday brought a lawsuit against Apple and several publishing companies over a scheme to fix e-book prices.

The suit stems from the 2010 release of the iPad, when Apple reached an agreement with five publishers to release books on its then-new iBookstore. The DOJ said Apple colluded to raise the price of e-books with CBS's Simon & Schuster, News Corp.'s HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group, Pearson's Penguin unit and Macmillan.

European authorities are also probing Apple and the publishers for similar antitrust violations. Attorneys general for Connecticut and Texas led a handful of other states in separate litigation against the companies as well.

Before the release of the iPad, Amazon's Kindle was the preeminent e-book reader on the market. Amazon forced publishers to sell most books at $9.99 -- a price that came in below the cost of the books.

According to the DOJ, booksellers were unnerved by the discounted e-book price structure Ama…

Jury selection begins in John Edwards' trial

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CNN reports: Jury selection begins today in a Greensboro, North Carolina, federal courtroom in the trial of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

Edwards is charged with six felony and misdemeanor counts related to the money dealings of his failed 2008 presidential campaign.

Rielle Hunter, Edwards' former mistress, is expected to testify at the trial. A major issue in the approaching trial is whether money given to support Hunter, by the former candidate's benefactors, should have been considered donations toward his presidential campaign. Edwards denies any wrongdoing, claiming the money was a gift.

Edwards is accused of conspiracy, issuing false statements and violating campaign contribution laws. If convicted on all counts, Edwards could face 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1.5 million.

Edwards' attorneys have claimed the investigation and prosecution are politically motivated, and the charges do not clearly establish any violation of election law.

Zimmerman charged with 2nd degree murder

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Regarding the Elton John concert in Sunrise

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[Editor's note] Dame Sir Elton John and I share a long, sordid history.

Ages ago when I was a fledgling college student at the University of Florida, he planned a concert on campus-- mere steps from my dorm room. Not one to miss an opportunity like that, I starved for 2 weeks and bought a ticket with the money I saved on food. On the day of the show, as I merrily walked to the venue, I got a call from a gal pal informing me that he postponed the show. Days later, he outright cancelled. Angered and betrayed, I boycotted his music for a whole year.

But that was then and this is now.

On the night of March 9th we put our differences aside as Elton did a 29-song set of his biggest and best. Wearing red specs and clad in his trademark sequined suit, he rocked the hell out of the BankAtlantic center for nearly 3 hours.

Admittedly, the music was a mixed bag of good-old, bad-new, and oddly-obscure tunes.

Elton started off with a bang by playing an electrifying rendition of “Saturday Night&#…

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Brasilândia by Lope Navo as featured on Homotography.

Liza Minnelli
"My Own Best Friend"

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Liza Minnelli taped an episode of Sammy Davis Jr's television show Sammy and Co. in the summer of 1975, while she briefly appeared in the Broadway musical Chicago, substituting for the ailing Gwen Verdon. Also appearing on the broadcast were Chita Rivera and Stephanie Mills.

[Editor's note:] I can't believe I'm seeing this woman tonight! I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!

The Funnies
Election 2012 Edition

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Santorum to suspend presidential campaign

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NBC News has confirmed that Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum will suspend his campaign for the nomination. The announcement, expected shortly at an event in Gettysburg, Pa., follows a recent hospitalization for his 3-year-old daughter who suffers from the chromosomal defect Trisomy 18.

A senior source in the Mitt Romney campaign confirms to NBC News that the front-runner received a call from Santorum today.

Santorum’s decision to suspend his campaign effectively stifles the opposition to Romney from within the GOP; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul remain active candidates, though neither of them have a plausible path to winning the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination.

The decision comes two weeks before the Pennsylvania presidential primary. Santorum had faced the prospect of an embarrassing loss to Romney that threatened to short-circuit any of his future political aspirations, either statewide or nationally.

--> Ding dong! Hope the…

The road gets rougher for Judyism’s faithful

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Photo caption: Judy Garland during her legendary concert at Carnegie Hall in 1961.

In more Judy-related news: Robert Leleux of the NYT writes about something I'm all-too familiar with. That's to say, the pain and suffering Judy fans go through at the hands young kids who don't know a lick about her:Last Saturday I invited my friend Brodie, a 30ish gay man like myself, to a preview performance of End of the Rainbow, Peter Quilter’s play about the final days of Judy Garland. In the course of that invitation, I asked him if he was a Judy fan, and he said, “No, but she was good in ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ ”

That’s the kind of answer I might expect from Tim Tebow, but being a good sport, Brodie accompanied me anyway.

I weep for my people.

I’m only half-kidding. I have this theory that because of the holocaust that was the AIDS epidemic and its annihilation of the previous generation of gay men, the faith of our fathers risks extinction. Today, Judyism, like Yiddish, is little more than …

New Judy Garland play chronicles the fall of a legend

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Photo caption: Tracie Bennett as Judy Garland at the Belasco Theater. More pictures here.

Ben Brantley of the NYT reviews: As befits a play about Judy Garland, a woman known for liberally mixing her pills, Peter Quilter’s End of the Rainbow is a jolting upper and downer at the same time. After watching Tracie Bennett’s electrifying interpretation of Garland in the intense production that opened at the Belasco Theater, you feel exhilarated and exhausted, equally ready to dance down the street and crawl under a rock.

In other words, you feel utterly alive, with all the contradictions that implies. That’s what comes from witnessing acting that is this unconditionally committed, not to mention this sensational — in every sense of the word.

Set in 1968 in a London hotel suite and a nightclub, where a shaky Garland has arrived for yet another of her fabled comebacks, Mr. Quilter’s play is in some ways your standard-issue showbiz pathography, a lurid account of the twilight of an all-too-mortal…

Study: Homophobic attitudes stronger among those with repressed same-sex attraction

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The HuffPo Gay Voices reports: A new study has confirmed what many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community have suspected for some time: that homophobic attitudes are likely to be more pronounced among those who've experienced unacknowledged attraction towards members of the same sex.

Set to be published this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the study reportedly comprised four separate experiments, each involving an average of 160 college students, conducted in the U.S. and Germany. The findings provide new evidence to support the psychoanalytic theory that fear, anxiety, and aversion that toward gays and lesbians can grow out of a seemingly heterosexual individual's own repressed same-sex desires, co-author Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester who helped direct the research, told Science Daily.

"In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal co…

Facebook buys Instagram for $1 billion

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Photo caption: Instagram founders Mike Krieger, left, and Kevin Systrom.

The Wall Street Journal reports: In October 2010, Stanford University graduates Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched a new iPhone application, Instagram, yet another oddly named tech start-up in a crowded field of hopefuls.

Yesterday, the two twenty-somethings said they sold their photo-sharing service—which has about a dozen employees and no revenue—to Facebook Inc. for $1 billion in cash and stock.

That 18-month journey underscores the frenzied state of the tech investing game, where even the smallest Web companies can develop global followings in a matter of weeks.

Only last week, Instagram closed a $50 million funding round from venture capital firms. The company's valuation: A whopping $500 million.

Incredibly, such a number would turn out to be paltry in the days ahead. Shortly after that deal, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg contacted Mr. Systrom, Instagram's 28-year-old CEO, to buy the comp…

Liza Minnelli
"What Makes a Man a Man?"

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[Editor's note] I'll have the indescribable pleasure of seeing this great legend of the stage and screen tomorrow!

To say that I am schvitzing is an understatement. Added to the gayness of the night, my dear friend and piano accompanist Roberta will be joining me.

Since I may very well gay-die tomorrow night, I just want to say it's been a pleasure blogging for you. If I survive, I'll have a complete wrap-up of the night! Until then, enjoy this poignant rendition of a great song.

USA records warmest March in history

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USA Today reports: Record and near-record breaking temperatures dominated the eastern two-thirds of the nation and contributed to the warmest March on record for the USA, a record that dates back to 1895, federal scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced this morning.

More than 15,000 warm temperature records were broken in all.

The average temperature of 51.1 degrees F was 8.6 degrees above the 20th century average for March, scientists reported.

Every state in the nation experienced a record warm daily temperature during March, and 25 states east of the Rockies had their warmest March on record.

Several large cities — including Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Nashville, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tampa and Washington — had their warmest March since records started being kept, according to the National Weather Service.

Hundreds of locations across the country broke their all-time March records.
Also, the first quarter of the ye…

Pick Me Up of the Day

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David Sanz as featured on Homotography.

The Gossip
"Perfect World"

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The Funnies
Election 2012 Edition

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PBS covers danger for Ugandan gays and re-emergence of 'Kill the Gays' bill

Watch In Uganda, Gays Face Growing Social, Legal Hostility on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Towleroad reports: PBS NewsHour did an excellent 8-minute piece the other night on the re-emergence of the "kill the gays" bill in Uganda, slain activist David Kato, anti-gay evangelizing by American 'Christianists' like Scott Lively, Hillary Clinton's statement to the UN urging rights for LGBTs in Africa and abroad, and the dangerous political atmosphere for gays now.

Current TV countersues Keith Olbermann

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The HuffPo reports: Current TV has fired back at Keith Olbermann's lawsuit, saying that his claims are untrue and that he is not entitled to any compensation.

Olbermann formally sued the network on Thursday, less than a week after Current fired him. Each side claims that the other is guilty of breach of contract.

Olbermann's complaint was full of vivid detail, and painted a picture of an experienced star battling against a series of incompetent, scheming executives.

On Friday, Politico published Current's complete legal response. In its countersuit, Current made clear that it denied "each and every allegation" Olbermann made. Calling the suit "riddled with falsehoods and distortions," the network wrote that it "had every right to terminate Mr. Olbermann's services, rather than continuing to pay a princely sum while receiving a pauper's performance in return."

The cross-complaint echoes the attacks leveled against Olbermann in the wake of h…

RIP 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace

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RIP Thomas Kinkade

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The Mercury News reports: Thomas Kinkade, the "Painter of Light" and one of the most popular artists in America, died suddenly Friday at his Los Gatos home. He was 54.

His family said in a statement that his death appeared to be from natural causes.

"Thom provided a wonderful life for his family," his wife, Nanette, said in a statement. "We are shocked and saddened by his death."

His paintings are hanging in an estimated one of every 20 homes in the United States. Fans cite the warm, familiar feeling of his mass-produced works of art, while it has become fashionable for art critics to dismiss his pieces as tacky. In any event, his prints of idyllic cottages and bucolic garden gates helped establish a brand -- famed for their painted highlights -- not commonly seen in the art world.

"I'm a warrior for light," Kinkade told the Mercury News in 2002, alluding not just to his technical skill at creating light on canvas but to the medieval practice of…

Jury selection begins in Hudson family murder trial

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The Marquee Blog reports: Jury selection began Thursday in the Chicago trial of a man accused by police of killing members of Jennifer Hudson’s family.

William Balfour is charged with slaying Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew after police allege he broke into their home in 2008.

Prosecutors have accused Balfour - the estranged husband of Hudson's sister, Julia - of shooting them in a jealous rage because Julia was allegedly seeing another man.

He is also accused of kidnapping Hudson's nephew.

The Chicago Tribune reports that when the judge asked if any of the potential jurors were closely acquainted with the potential witnesses whose names he read, about 10 of them raised their hands.

According to reports Hudson herself could be called on as a witness. The 30-year-old singer, actress and Weight Watchers spokeswoman did not attend the hearing on Thursday, but she is expected to attend once testimony gets under way.

The Hunger Games’ surpasses $300 million in North America

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ArtsBeat reports: The kids of The Hunger Games, even in their third weekend in theaters, ran laps around the rested adults of American Reunion, selling an estimated $33.5 million in tickets to repeat as the No. 1 movie in North America.

The Hunger Games has now taken in $302.8 million at the domestic box office, according to Hollywood.com, which compiles ticketing data.

In Games related news, looks like director Gary Ross will not be back for the sequel.

American Reunion, the R-rated continuation of the 13-year-old American Pie franchise, was second with ticket sales of about $21.5 million. Universal Pictures and its financing partner spent about $50 million to make American Reunion, which brought back the original cast and was directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg of Harold & Kumar fame.

Paramount’s 3-D re-release of Titanic placed third with about $17.4 million in tickets sales, for a total since its Wednesday arrival in theaters of $25.7 million. Converting Titanic into 3…

Weekend box office

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Weekend Top Five:

#1 The Hunger Games ($33.5M)
#2 American Reunion ($21.5M)
#3 Titanic ($17.4M)
#4 Wrath of the Titans $15M)
#5 Mirror Mirror ($11M)

Madonna releases Ultra Music Fest video with Avicii

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Madonna has given Yahoo! Music an exclusive video from her Ultra Music Fest surprise appearance in Miami.

The pop queen came out on stage last week before Swedish DJ Avicii's set to do a little call and response with the astonished audience. Avicii kicked off the set with his remix of Madonna's single "Girl Gone Wild".

Along with her surprise appearances, Madonna has been taking over the internet. Just a week into signing up for an official Twitter account for the first time ever, the pop queen has already held two Twitter chats with fans, plus celebrity friends and well-wishers. Last night's chat that Madge did from the floor of her living room included names like Anderson Cooper, Britney Spears, Katy Perry and a particularly long chat with former neighbor Lionel Richie ("the other ritchie in [her] life...").

Highlights from the Twitter chat can be read here.