Posts Tagged ‘American Horror Story’

Random Friday Thoughts — August 4 , 2017

Are you ready for the weekend?  Although I have nothing planned, I’m still ready!

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts!

THREE MONTHS ALREADY

This weekend marks my third month in Panama City, Florida!

While everyone’s life carries on, the things I miss the most about the Quad Cities are my family and friends, my fish pond, my beautiful and spacious sun porch, and Sunday champagne brunch!

Missing QC

I’M READY FOR A GETAWAY

Clearly from the way I kicked off this week’s blog, I’m ready for a vacation.

Shania Twain has the right idea in her latest video, “Life’s About To Get Good”, that dropped last week.

And, when I take that getaway, I’m coming back with a new attitude and moving on with my life.

“NOW” IS GETTING CLOSER!

It’s been 15 years since Shania Twain released her last studio album.  Her new one, “Now”, comes out September 29th.

Now

“Life’s About To Get Good” is the first single and while country radio decided not to embrace it, the song is getting some airplay at adult contemporary stations.

CAITLYN, YOU CONTINUE TO DISAPPOINT ME

It’s no secret that I’m not a Caitlyn Jenner fan.

While I applauded her decision to come out to the world as a trans woman, her misinformation and ignorance proves she’s not a good spokeswoman for the transgender movement.

I find her latest escapade of expressing her love of Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like a Lady” highly offensive.

caitlyn steven

We all know that she transitioned from the gorgeous Olympic star Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn because she was born male, but that wasn’t her gender identity.  But, now to finally be seen as a woman and then to make a mockery of it is just tacky.

You could say that it’s no different from a gay man calling himself a “sissy” or a “girl”.  It is different because that gay man may have always identified and lived that way.

We may disagree on this, but Caitlyn has spent a fortune trying to look like the woman she felt inside.  So, why cheapen yourself by thinking it’s still cool to publicly admit that you love an offensively, crude song with the title, “Dude Looks Like a Lady”.

Sadly, in the world we live in, many people still see you that way!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY”

The new season of “American Horror Story” debuts on FX September 5, 2017.

The first episode deals with the 2016 presidential election and takes place in the battleground state of Michigan.

The creator, Ryan Murphy, says it’s about “the fallout of that night, which to many people, from all sides of the camps is a horror story.”

Trump

Oh, by the way, the season is called “Cult”.

Trump

I guess that’s because “Freak Show” and “Asylum” have already been used in the series!

“THE SINNER” & “MANHUNT: UNABOMBER”

Both of these limited series made their debut this week.  I’m definitely find one more intriguing.

After watching the first two episodes of “Manhunt: Unabomber”, it was informative and entertaining enough even with very little of the Unabomber.  It was more about his crimes and the FBI manhunt to capture him.

Maybe we’ll find out more about Ted Kaczynski and get to see Paul Bettany (“Wimbledon”) do his thing as the hunted serial bomber.

I was much more impressed with USA’s “The Sinner”, which “seemed” like a cut and dry story.

A woman (Jessica Biel) is at the beach with her attractive husband and child and while cutting a pear, she savagely attacks and kills a man sitting with his friends in front of her.

She confesses to the crime to police, but why did she do it?  A twist at the end of the first episode has me awaiting next week’s second of eight episodes.

“MANHUNT: UNABOMBER” GRADE (after two episodes):  B

“THE SINNER” GRADE (after one episode): A- 

“THE LEFTOVERS”

While Comcast pimped me over recently by not recordings movies on my DVR during my free HBO and Cinemax week, I did get a chance to catch the first season of “The Leftovers”.

The Bible-like “rapture” story is chilling enough, but when you add in a “cult” (wait, they say they’re not a cult) and mental illness, it gets unsettling.

But, on the other hand, Justin Theroux is gorgeous!

JT

Now, I can’t wait to see seasons two and three.

By the way, happy second anniversary to Justin and his beautiful wife, Jennifer Aniston.

“MASTER OF NONE”

I loved the first season of Netflix’s “Master of None”.  While I enjoyed all but one episode, I wasn’t blown away as much by season two.

But, the show is nominated for an Emmy for “Comedy Series”, Aziz Ansari got a nod for “Comedy Actor”, and Ansari and Lena Waithe (“Denise”) are up for the “Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series” for the Thanksgiving episode, which was my favorite of the season.

Angela Bassett is almost nominated for “Guest Actress in a Comedy Series” for the Thanksgiving episode.

“Master of None” is nominated for four more Emmy Awards for a total of eight.  I really wish Bobby Cannavale was nominated, too.

“FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE”

Two episodes into this Netflix original comedy series, I realized why I don’t have any friends.  These people are annoying!

I’ll pass.

MY NEW FAVORITE VEGETABLE

Turnips

As a kid, I hated turnips.  I don’t even remember how my mother and grandmother cooked them to make them look like puree.

I dice them and saute them in seasoning and olive oil and I can’t get enough.  I need to experiment with recipes and try them others ways, too.

PICK HIT

24-year-old English DJ Sigala is racking up the Top Ten hits in his native United Kingdom. He’s already has five, including a #1 hit.

“Came Here For Love” with 23-year-old U.K. vocalist Ella Eyre is his latest.  It went all the way to #6 and has made the Top Three in Belgium and Scotland.

“NEW ATTITUDE”

I can’t mention “New Attitude” earlier in the blog without sharing Miss Patti LaBelle!

This #1 dance hit in 1985 was featured on the “Beverly Hills Cop” soundtrack and earned LaBelle a “Best Female R&B Vocal Performance” Grammy nomination!!!

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 19, 2016

We made it through another week, but for me it’s a six-day work week since I work Saturday night.  I hope you have some great weekend plans.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share yours with me.  If we disagree, do it diplomatically.

BREAKING NEWS….

It’s been a long time coming, but Lady Gaga announces her new single. “Perfect Illusion” is coming in September!

perfect-illusion-gif-4_tt.gif

She was last on pop radio in 2014 with “G.U.Y.”, the third single from the “Artpop” album, which peaked at a dismal #29 on the Top 40 airplay charts.

The first two hits from “Artpop” charted higher at Top 40 radio.  “Applause” reached #4 on the airplay chart and “Do What U Want” with R. Kelly peaked at #7.

Welcome back Lady Gaga!

I now return you to my regularly scheduled “Random Friday Thoughts”.

REBA, HOW COULD YOU?

I know that Reba McEntire, one of my musical idols, is very LGBT friendly.

Reba 2011

However, her new business venture with the anti-gay Cracker Barrel restaurant chain has me scratching my head.  I know it’s just business.

Since country radio doesn’t support her new music, Reba’s album sales have dropped off significantly and are pretty non-existent the past few years.  But, her residency at Caesars Palace and her concerts on the road are still bringing in big crowds and she still has her fashion line at Dillard’s.

So, it distresses me for her to associate herself with the hateful chain, especially when she has a new Christmas album coming out that is exclusive to them.  It features five new recordings and six previous releases.  But, I won’t be buying it.  I can’t give my money to a business that supports hate.

Reba, I wish you could make it available from other outlets!

Let’s make a deal!  Send me a copy and I’ll donate the cost of the CD at Cracker Barrel to a LGBT charity in your name!

WINTER’S COMING!

While we’re still experiencing above average temperatures, some kids are still on summer break, and we’re not even to Labor Day, the unofficial end of the summer season, “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” is already scaring people with its 2016-2017 winter forecast.

ap_winter_weather_new_york_snow_ss_101227_ssh

For the “Heartland” (including the Quad Cities, all of Iowa, western Illinois, much of Missouri, and parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Kansas), the forecast is shocking!!!!!!!!!  (Note: sarcasm)

Its winter forecast — “the coldest periods will be in early-to-mid and mid-to-late January and early February. The snowiest periods will be in mid-to-late November, mid-January, and early February.”

Okay, seriously, you live in the Midwest.  Of course, those are the coldest and snowiest times of the winter climatologically speaking!  You don’t need an almanac or even a meteorologist to tell you that.

I wonder what Heather Mooney would think of that winter forecast being so generic?

HeatherMooney

Next!

GOOD RIDDANCE, CAIT

“I Am Cait” is officially cancelled by E! after two seasons.

Caitlyn

I applauded Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out as transgender in the spring of 2015.  I was hoping that she’d bring much to the table in America’s (and the world’s) LGBT discussions and help demystify and educate on transgender issues.

The problem is she’s learning herself and is not in touch with most transgender men and women.  She’s never really had a clue as to what their lives are really like.  Their lives are not Hollywood parties and open checkbooks.  Many face discriminatory practices and the fear for losing their jobs and their lives daily on the streets due to hate and ignorance.

And, then there’s the whole thing about her thinking the Republican party really cares about her plight and the LGBT community.

We need strong advocates in the transgender (and LGBT) community, but Caitlyn Jenner is not that advocate.

JIMMY CARTER & ELECTION SPENDING

It’s no secret that I think President Jimmy Carter is an amazing man.

Jimmy Carter 90.jpg

I just finished his “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety” — incredible stories of his life and an easy read.

One story that boggled my mind in this presidential election year is how much money is spent by politicians to get elected (or lose) compared to when he was running for office.

Back in the 1976 and 1980 elections, he and his competitors Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan spent $26 million.  People were allowed to donate a dollar each on their income tax payments.

Today, with super-PACs (political action committees), the amount of money is astronomical.  In 2012, President Obama and Mitt Romney both spent over one billion dollars — that’s billion with a “B”!

In this summer 2015 book, Carter writes that the Koch brothers and their associates had already devoted $889 million to get Republicans elected.  What’s scary is that that number continues to rise and that’s just on one side of the aisle!

Incredible!  Could you imagine what we could do with that money to better the U.S. and the world?

PATTI DAVIS BLASTS DONALD TRUMP

The daughter of President Ronald Reagan took to Facebook to rip into GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump after his “second amendment” comments that many thought advocated gun violence against his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Patti Davis Donald Trump.jpg

Your thoughts?

Some say liberals read too much into Trump’s off-hand remarks.  Others say he meant exactly what he hinted at with the comments.

FOX NEWS, PAY UP OR SHUT UP

Devastating flooding is hitting Louisiana.  Baton Rouge, one of the hardest hit areas, picked up more than twenty inches of rain since last week.  At least thirteen people have died.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has donated one million dollars for Louisiana flood relief.

This prompted Fox News to run a story with the headline “Taylor Swift fixing her image or just being nice?”

Seriously?  Hey Fox News, work on fixing your own image and donate a million dollars, too!  Louisiana could use the money more than your insults.

Taylor and I have something else to say to you!

taylor-swift-selena-gomez-shut-the-fuck-up-vmas-2013

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY”

The horror anthology series returns to FX for the sixth season on September 14th.

Lady Gaga, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Evan Peters, Denis O’Hare, Matt Bomer, Finn Wittrock, Wes Bentley, Cheyenne Jackson, and Leslie Jordan are returning.

They’ll be joined by newcomer Cuba Gooding Jr., who starred in Ryan Murphy’s “The People v O.J. Simpson, as O.J. Simpson.

Several short promos have been released for the sixth season including this awesome campy one.

While details of the sixth season are still secret, it’s rumored to focus on children and Murphy has called this season “more rogue” and “dark”.

This is also the first of the “American Horror Story” seasons that doesn’t have a subtitle before the premiere since the debut.

So, if you’ve watched all five seasons, what is your favorite and least favorite?

Here are mine (and even the incredible Wittrock as Dandy Mott couldn’t save “Freak Show”, as a whole, for me.)

american-horror-story-freak-show

#5  “Freak Show” (season four); #4 “Hotel” (season five); “Coven” (season three); #2 “Murder House” (season one); and my favorite was season two, “Asylum”.

American Horror Story Asylum

CHER RECORDING NEW MUSIC!

Pop music icon Cher is ready to get to work on her new album.

This would be the follow-up to 2013’s amazing and underappreciated “Closer To The Truth”, which was my second favorite album of that year.

Cher Closer To The Truth

Cher tweeted that she’s already recorded two songs and when she’s done with her current campaigning for Hillary Clinton, she’ll be back to work on her 26th studio album.

Cher Singing.jpg

It’s hard to believe that her first album came out more than 50 years ago in the fall of 1965!

“THE LOBSTER”

If you’ve seen the trailer for the movie, “The Lobster”, it screams “quirky”.

When you watch the movie, you’ll laugh and then realize that while it’s a comedy-drama, you feel a little awkward laughing at the sensitive material.

 Colin Farrell stars as a divorced man, in a dystopian society, where single people have 45 days to find a mate or they’ll be transformed into an animal of their choosing.

The dramedy also stars Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, and the ever charming Ben Whishaw.

GRADE: B

PICK HIT

My pick hit this week is the first American release for French DJ and record producer Kungs and Australian funk trio Cookin’ on 3 Burners with vocalist Kylie Auldist.

“This Girl” is already a chart-topper in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Scotland, Slovakia, and on the UK Dance chart.

“This Girl” is now racing up the American Top 40 radio airplay charts.  It’s at #21.

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

You Can’t Spend All Summer Outdoors

Summer is a time when most people spend more time outdoors on the lake or river, lounging in the pools, or vacationing.

Pool Summer 2010

Whatever you do, it’s great to escape the cold, snowy months of winter.

11911Snow2

In the evenings, television networks are giving us fresh new shows so we don’t have to watch re-runs and pine for the return of our favorite shows.

The_Walking_Dead_TV_Series-285470099-large

Now that my favorites, “The Walking Dead”, “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Bates Motel”, “American Horror Story”, “Madam Secretary”, “American Crime” are on hiatus, and “The Following” and “Stalker” heading off to the television graveyard, here are the shows that excite me this summer.

I just have to include the trailers for the series finales of “The Following” and “Stalker”, both of which air Monday, May 18th!

R.I.P.

Now, my summer shows……

“Wayward Pines” kicked off on Fox, Thursday, May 14th, to rave reviews.

“Aquarius” with David Duchovny debuts on NBC on Thursday, May 28th.

Duchovny will play a detective who ends up on the hunt for a young serial killer, Charles Manson.

The third season of one of my favorite shows, “Hannibal”, returns on NBC Thursday, June 4th.

Ironically, that means Duchovny will be back-to-back on NBC Thursday night with his “The X-Files” television partner, Gillian Anderson, who plays Hannibal’s psychiatrist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurie.

Gillian David The X-Files

Those ready for the six new episodes of “The X-Files” will have to wait until January 24, 2016!

On USA, I’m going to check out “Mr. Robot”.  It premiers Wednesday, June 24th.

I kept seeing the promotions for it during “Dig”, a ten-episode thriller that has already concluded.  However, if you have On Demand, I highly recommending binge watching it.

And, on Tuesday, June 30th, I plan on checking out “Zoo” on CBS.

There isn’t much in this trailer.  It’s a drama about a global pandemic that causes animals to launch violent, coordinated attacks against humans stars James Wolk, Kristen Connolly, and Billy Burke.

And, the six-episode accompanying series to “The Walking Dead”, “Fear The Walking Dead” debuts some time late this summer on AMC.

Okay, while I don’t want to rush summer, here is the ONLY show that has piqued my curiosity for the fall.

“Scream Queens” comes to Fox in September.

What shows are you excited about?

Anthony

Fall Television & New Movies That Excite Me

When I was younger, I always looked forward to the fall television season.  It was fun seeing my favorite shows return and to check out some new ones.  Now that the television landscape has changed and shows return at different times throughout the year, it’s more exciting.

Usually, I don’t get too excited about new shows.  The ones I like usually get cancelled (“Commander In Chief”, “Invasion”, and “Eli Stone” to name a few.)

However, last weekend, we checked out the series premiere to “Red Band Society” (Fox), “Getting Away With Murder” (ABC), and “Madam Secretary” (CBS).

After just a couple of episodes, I gave up on “Red Band Society” and I don’t think I’m alone.  It might be the first cancellation of the fall season and all shows haven’t even debuted!

Tea Leoni was great in “Madam Secretary” and it is well written and acted.  But, Oscar nominee Viola Davis is incredible in “How To Get Away With Murder” and it’s my early favorite — so intelligent and sexy.

I’m still waiting to see “Gotham” (Fox), “Transparent (Amazon), “Stalker” (CBS), and “Gracepoint”(Fox).

Of course, I can’t wait for the new seasons of “The Walking Dead”, “American Horror Story”, “The Following” and “Hannibal”.

Hannibal

Whether it’s cancelled or renewed for a third season, I’m done with “Under The Dome” after the season two finale.  Sorry, Chesters Mill!

under-the-dome

With summer behind us and the days getting shorter, I’m making a list of the movies and the Oscar contenders that I want to see this fall and winter.

Here are the ones that I plan on seeing on the big screen with a large popcorn!

popcorn

“Gone Girl” (October 3)

“Unbroken”

“Exodus:  Gods And Kings”

“Into The Woods”

I’m really intrigued by this Nicole Kidman thriller, but I haven’t decided if it’s a theater movie or one that I’ll wait to see at home.

“Before I Go To Sleep”

And, here are the ones that I’ll likely be curled up on the couch and popping my own popcorn to watch when they come out on DVD.

“This Is Where I Leave You”

“Left Behind”

“Pride”

“The Guest”

“Maps To The Stars”

“The Best of Me”

“Horrible Bosses 2”

“Foxcatcher”

“The Imitation Game”

“The Interview”

“Wild”

Which ones are you interested in seeing and what new shows are you excited about this fall?

Anthony

Good News About AIDS Deaths & “The Normal Heart”

In New York City, for the first time since 1983, AIDS is no longer on the list of the Top Ten causes of death.

STOP AIDS

In 2012, there were 609 deaths from AIDS.  That is still 609 too many!

One year earlier, there were 766 deaths, which ranked AIDS as the 9th leading cause of deaths in New York City.

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett says that better treatment is allowing people to live longer.

Also, here’s some other great news out of the “Big Apple”.  The number of new HIV cases has dropped there unlike other parts of the United States where the number of cases of men who have sex with men is still rising.

While that’s very encouraging, people must also remember that people are still getting infected with HIV and AIDS is still killing people.  It hasn’t gone away.

“THE NORMAL HEART”

78-year-old activist and author Larry Kramer was one of the most vocal advocates in the 1980s to make government officials aware of the HIV/AIDS pandemic that was killing so many gay men and he forced them to take it seriously.

Larry Kramer

Kramer was the founder of the political action protest group, ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, in 1987.

A few years before he wrote “The Normal Heart” and it played Off Broadway in 1985.  It’s now an upcoming HBO movie by “American Horror Story” and “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy.

The Normal Heart HBO

In the movie, Mark Ruffalo plays Ned Weeks, a writer and HIV/AIDS activist that chose loud public confrontations to quiet private meetings, just like the real-life Kramer.

“The Normal Heart” also stars Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Jim Parsons, Jonathan Groff, and Taylor Kitsch.

It premiers on HBO on May 25, 2014.

Anthony

Re-posted from March 21, 2014:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/random-friday-thoughts-march-21-2014/

Sad To Say Goodbye to Dexter

If you watch your television shows as they air, you said goodbye to Showtime’s “Dexter” on September 22, 2013.  The 9 p.m. broadcast brought in the largest overall audience in Showtime’s history.

Dexter S8

I’m one of those that try to avoid the spoilers and watch “Dexter”, “American Horror Story” and “Bates Motel” on DVD.

So, now that I’ve watched the final season and I don’t give away spoilers, it was a satisfying season, but it wasn’t my favorite.

I loved the character of Evelyn Vogel, the doctor that came up with the “code” for Harry and Dexter to follow with Dexter’s need to kill.  The “Brain Surgeon” was an interesting villain for the season and the return of one of Dexter’s old girlfriends was fun.

My problem with the season was Dexter spending so little time doing what he does best — getting rid of bad people who slip through the cracks of the criminal justice system!  With my sexy man Dexter, I want more blood!

Dexter

If you’ve never seen “Dexter”, you have to start watching it.  It’s one of the best shows ever on television.  Yes, sadistic and gory at times, but intelligent, sexy, and fun.  My last comment before I grade this last season, the last scene should have been left out and left to our imagination!

I ranked my favorite “Dexter” seasons back in my June 7, 2013 blog, and here is what I said then and I’ll add season 8 to the list.

Season 1: (A+)   — Three words:  Ice Truck Killer!  Plus, I love Sergeant Doakes (“Surprise Motherf***a”)!

Season 2: (B)  –   I gave it a higher grade for Doakes and a lower grade because of Lila (you gotta love Paris)!

Season 3: (B-) –  This season had so much potential especially when Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits) saw Dexter kill someone early on, but the show lost its way for most of the season.

Season 4:  (A) –  The Trinity Killer & Rita taking a much deserved bath!

Season 5:  (B-) — Lumen got old fast, but having Jonny Lee Miller (Jordan Chase) on the show saved it from getting a “C”.  However, the story line was weak.

Season 6:  (A-)  –  The “Doomsday Killer” and the Book of Revelations killings were intriguing.   The “Nebraska” filler episode dropped the season back a partial grade.

Season 7:  (A+) — The dynamics of Dexter and Debra this season after she witnessed his kill at the end of season six were incredible.  Debra’s fragility of discovering what Dexter is and having to compromise her position with Miami Metro to save her brother was a powerful story to watch unfold.   And, it was fun seeing Dexter as the mouse in the “cat and mouse” game with his every move being watched by not only Debra, but also by Isaac Sirko and the Koshka Brotherhood (the Ukrainian based international crime syndicate).  If that wasn’t enough, he and Debra then had to come up with a strategic plan after Captain LaGuerta found evidence that Doakes wasn’t the “Bay Harbor Butcher” and she started investigating Dexter!

Season 8:  GRADE:  B

Anthony

Re-posted from  “Random Friday Thoughts — December 20, 2013

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/random-friday-thoughts-december-20/

World AIDS Day

Sadly, there are more than 1.1 million people in the United States that are HIV-positive and what’s scary is that 18% don’t even know that they are infected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus infection), which can lead to AIDS.  That’s almost one-in-five people who don’t know they are HIV-positive!

Today, December 1, 2013, marks the 25th anniversary of “World AIDS Day”, which was started in 1988 to raise awareness to the spread of HIV and the AIDS pandemic.

world aids day

Here’s some sobering numbers for you:  AIDS is still a problem, even if it’s now treatable.  There were still 15,529 deaths in the U.S. from AIDS in the U.S. in 2010.

us-statistics-1

White gay and bisexual men are the groups with the highest new infection rates and black gay and bisexual men follow right behind.

THE BLACK AIDS INSTITUTE ANNOUNCE NEW TV CAMPAIGN

However, here’s something that needs to be addressed and people need to wake up.  While African-Americans make up 12% of the U.S. population, they account for 44% of new HIV cases in 2010/living with HIV.  And, Hispanics account for 16% of the U.S. population, but make up 21% of the new HIV cases/people living with HIV.

We’ve come a long way in the past 32 years, but we have a long way to go.

Flashback to the spring and early summer of 1981.  Doctors in New York and California started noticing that some of their young, gay patients were coming in with weakened immune systems and were developing pneumonia and cancer.

NYT

“The New York Times” published one of the first articles on this new disease that didn’t even have a name and was incorrectly labeled “GRID” (gay-related immune deficiency) in 1982.  It was changed to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) once doctors realized that it didn’t only affect gay men.

The early 1980s was a scary time because there was so much that doctors didn’t know about this “gay cancer”, as it was also called.  This led to fear and many misconceptions about who or how people could catch it.

Princess Diana

Ryan White Pic

Ryan White, an Indiana hemophiliac, contracted AIDS from a contaminated blood transfusion and he was diagnosed with the disease shortly after his 13th birthday during a partial-lung removal procedure.

His school refused to let him come back and the family was subjected to threats and a bullet was even fired into their living room forcing the family to leave Kokomo, Indiana.

Ryan White

Ryan died in April 1990 at the age of 18.

Jerry Falwell

Before Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS in late 1984, Reverend Jerry Falwell in the summer of 1983 called AIDS, the “gay plague”.  He also made other ignorant and hateful comments about AIDS and gay people.

Falwell

Sept 1986, Ken Died 3 Days Later

In the early-and-mid-1980s, a diagnosis of AIDS was an almost certain death sentence.  Outside of large metropolitan cities, many in America still thought it was a strictly a disease that affected gay men.

Ronald Reagan and Jerry Falwell

In retrospective, that doesn’t seem illogical because President Ronald Reagan didn’t even mention AIDS publicly until 1987, six years after he began his presidency and AIDS went public!

corbis_rm_photo_of_ACT_UP_protest_banner

While the President chose to or just remained silent on the topic, the nation’s started talking in the summer of 1985 when one of America’s biggest movie stars of the 1950s and 1960s startled the world when he admitted that he had AIDS.

Roy Scherer, Jr., who was born outside of Chicago, moved to Los Angeles in 1946 to become an actor after serving in the U.S. Navy in Philippines during World War II.  His name was changed to Rock Hudson and he became a matinée idol and made several romantic-comedies, including a few with his dear friend, actress Doris Day.

Doris Day Rock Hudson

Hudson was a heartthrob — a tall drink of water at 6’5″ — and the magazines loved him.

Rock Hudson 1951

However, rumors that he was gay dogged him.  When “Confidential” magazine threatened to out him in 1955, he got married that same year and then divorced in 1958.

In 1956, Hudson was nominated for an Oscar for his role in “Giant” that also starred Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean.  He worked steadily in movies and television through 1985 and his last role was on “Dynasty” as Daniel Reece, the love interest of Linda Evan’s character, Krystle Carrington.

Rock Hudson Dynasty

While Hudson’s character was killed off in the spring of 1985, the gasp that could be heard around the world came months later, in July.  Hudson appeared in a promo to promote his friend, Doris Day’s new television show.

Doris Day Rock Hudson 1985

The actor appeared thin and unhealthy.  He spoke incoherently during the press event.  This led to widespread speculation about his health.  Days later he collapsed at a hotel in Paris, France, and his publicist, Dale Olson, denied that Hudson had AIDS and that he was suffering from inoperable liver cancer.

Four days later, on July 25, 1985, Olson admitted that Hudson had AIDS and that he had been diagnosed one year earlier and had been flying to Paris for treatments.

People Headline

Hollywood freaked out over this revelation, including some on the set of “Dynasty”.  However, it’s been reported that Linda Evans was not one of those people even though they shared intimate love scenes together.

At the time, some erroneously thought that you could contract AIDS through kissing.  YOU CANNOT GET AIDS FROM KISSING!  This is a perfect time for the facts about HIV and AIDS.

HIV HIV Prevention

On October 2, 1985, Rock Hudson died at home in his sleep in Beverly Hills, California.  He was 59.

Rock Hudson 1950s

Shortly before he died, Hudson sent a telegram to Commitment to Life, a Hollywood AIDS benefit, saying “I am not happy that I am sick. I am not happy that I have AIDS. But if that is helping others, I can at least know that my own misfortune has had some positive worth.”

Comedian Joan Rivers added, “Two years ago, when I hosted a benefit for AIDS, I couldn’t get one major star to turn out. … Rock’s admission is a horrendous way to bring AIDS to the attention of the American public, but by doing so, Rock, in his life, has helped millions in the process. What Rock has done takes true courage.”  And, actress Morgan Fairchild said that “Rock Hudson’s death gave AIDS a face.”

HOLLYWOOD EDUCATING AMERICA THROUGH MOVIES

While health officials worked tirelessly in the 1980s and 1990s to educate the public about HIV/AIDS, activists staged protests at government offices to work harder to fund research and to find a cure.

Slowly, Hollywood came around and “An Early Frost” on NBC in November 1985 was the first movie to address AIDS.

An Early Frost

34 million people tuned to see Aidan Quinn as a Chicago lawyer, who not only became ill with AIDS, but he also had to tell his parents (Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands) that he was gay.  The movie earned 14 Emmy nominations, winning three.

While it was the most watched show of the night beating out football and “Cagney & Lacey”, NBC lost $500,000 in commercial revenue because some clients were scared away by the subject matter.

Here are some other incredible Hollywood movies and television movies or series that excel at telling the HIV/AIDS story.

“Longtime Companion” (1989) is one of my all-time favorite movies.

While it was the first wide-release theatrical movie to address AIDS,  it only earned $4.6 million at the box office.  It stars Campbell Scott, Mary-Louise Parker, and Bruce Davison, who earned a Best Supporting Oscar nomination.

It follows a group of New York City friends from the 1981 beginning of the AIDS pandemic and shows how they learned to live, fight, and die from the disease.

Longtime Companion

“And The Band Played On”, a 1993 HBO movie, is probably the best historical movie for you to learn about the history of AIDS without it sounding like a boring history lesson.  The Emmy Award winning movie (it won three out of its 14 nominations) stars Matthew Modine, Alan Alda, Lily Tomlin, Richard Gere, and Phil Collins.

And, the book was written by Randy Shilts, who was born in Davenport, Iowa.

And-the-Band-Played-On

In 1993, “Philadelphia” became the most profitable AIDS movie in Hollywood history earning $206.7 million (almost $77 million of that was from the U.S.).

Tom Hanks won an Oscar playing a closeted lawyer at a big law firm, who is given the company’s biggest case only to have them fire him when a partner sees a lesion on his forehead and he is hospitalized.  He hires a homophobic, personal injury lawyer played by Denzel Washington.

Philadelphia

Another touching small theatrical movie, “The Cure”, tells the story of Dexter, a Midwestern boy who befriends his latch-key neighbor, Erik, who’s a little older.  Initially, Erik is afraid of Dexter and his disease.  But, the boys form a close friendship when they decide to travel down the Mississippi River to New Orleans to find a rumored cure for AIDS.

The Cure

Not all AIDS-related movie are dramas.  “Jeffrey”, a 1995 film by funny man Paul Rudnick, made about $3.5 million at the box office and stars Steven Weber and Michael T. Weiss.

Weber is Jeffrey, a New York City man who is scared of catching AIDS, so he gives up sex and then he meets Steve, the man of his dreams only to find out that Steve is HIV-positive.

The movie features an all-star cast including Patrick Stewart, Olympia Dukakis, Sigourney Weaver, Nathan Lane, Christine Baranski, and Kathy Najimy.

Jeffrey

The play, “Angels in America” blasted onto HBO in 2003 with a cast that included Al Pacino, Meryl Streep (playing four characters), Emma Thompson, Jeffrey Wright (also playing four characters), Mary-Louise Parker and Patrick Wilson.  The almost six-hour series earned 21 Emmy nominations and 11 wins, including acting awards for Pacino, Streep, Parker, and Wright.

Angels in America

And, in 2014, Ryan Murphy, the man behind the award-winning series, “American Horror Story” and “Glee”, will be directing the Larry Kramer-penned, Tony Award-winning play, “The Normal Heart”.

TheNormalHeart

The HBO movie stars Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons. Matt Bomer, and Taylor Kitsch, and focuses on the AIDS crisis in New York City in the early-1980s.

For those of you that don’t know him, Larry Kramer is and was one of the biggest health advocates in the history of HIV/AIDS and helped start the protest organization, ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), in early 1987.

“AND, THE ACADEMY AWARD FOR BEST ACTOR SHOULD GO TO…”

dallas_buyers_club

Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club”!

The movie is based on a true story.  Ron Woodruff was a homophobic, hard-living, good ol’ Texas boy who loved his liquor, drugs, and women.  In 1986, he was diagnosed with AIDS and told that he had 30 days to live.

He tried to get on the AZT trials that were being rushed onto the market to fight the AIDS pandemic.  Since he was denied that opportunity, Woodruff started buying it on the black market.  When he almost died, he came up with a plan to smuggle medications out of Mexico to try to stay alive.  Since Ron couldn’t sell the drugs, he started a membership only “buyers club” to distribute the Food & Drug Administration-unapproved medication.

DALLAS-BUYERS-CLUB

McConaughey, who plays Woodruff, lost about 50 pounds for the role and his co-star, Jared Leto, who plays transgender AIDS patient, Rayon, who befriends Woodruff, lost about 40 pounds for the role.

Both actors were electrifying and sold the story.  After initially gasping at McConaughey’s first appearance in the movie, I was sold for the next two hours that both actors were HIV-positive people fighting for their lives, while the government dragged its feet.

If you lived through the 1980s and saw friends getting sick and dying, you saw those friends in Ron and Rayon.  If you know people who have become HIV-positive in the past decade, where with medication, healthier living, diet, and exercise, it’s become a manageable disease, there’s a sense of relief that AIDS is no longer a certain death sentence.

GRADE:  A

MUSICIAN LEND A VOICE, TOO

Madonna, George Michael, Cyndi Lauper, the Pet Shop Boys, and many other musicians have recorded songs about HIV and AIDS and losing friends or lovers to the disease.

In 1986, Elton John was joined by Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder on “That’s What Friends Are For”.  That Grammy Award-winning song reached #1 and raised over $3 million dollars for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, a nonprofit organization founded by some leading AIDS specialist and actress Elizabeth Taylor.

Six years later, Elton John founded the nonprofit organization, the Elton John AIDS Foundation.  His 1992 hit, “The Last Song”, about a father and son reuniting before the son died of AIDS, was the first of Elton’s American singles to benefit his AIDS foundation.

While pop music embraced the fight against HIV/AIDS and lent a voice, it took the biggest name in country music almost twenty years ago to release a song that was controversial in that musical genre to put a heterosexual face to AIDS.

Reba She Thinks His Name Was John

Typically, summer radio is filled with bubbly, fun songs.  However, in 1994, Reba McEntire serviced “She Thinks His Name Was John” to country radio as the second single from “Read My Mind”.   The song tells the story of a woman, who is dying alone of AIDS after an alcohol-fueled one night stand a few years earlier.

The song only reached #14 on the Billboard County charts.  But, it opened eyes in a genre that was used to drinking songs, but not one with the horrors of a disease that affected a large number of gay men.

While things are changing, there’s still a long way to go in the fight against HIV and AIDS.  And, we still need to educate people.

Annie Lennox

Back in 2010, Annie Lennon of the Eurythimics wore a “HIV Positive” shirt on “Idol Gives Back”.  This prompted many to think that she was ill.

She replied, “I can tell you the good news is actually I am not. However, many people are. In fact, 22 million in sub-Saharan Africa are currently HIV positive.  And I am wearing this in solidarity with them because it’s very hard when you are HIV positive to be open about your status and to be able to tell your family and your friends.”

Annie Lennox

Red Ribbon

You may not see many people these days wearing red ribbons to raise awareness, but more people than ever are getting infected with HIV.  Last year, around the world, 2.3 million people were newly affected!

hiv_013

Since 1981, more than 636,000 people have died from AIDS in the United States.  If those numbers don’t wake you up, try these:

AmFAR Stats

On this “World AIDS Day”, remember those who have lost the battle with AIDS.  Whether you know it or not, I can almost guarantee that you know someone who is HIV-positive or that you will in the future.

STOP AIDS

Abstaining from sex is what some tell you to do.  That works.  However, if you’re going to be sexually active, protect yourself.  Use condoms!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that “Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.”

HIV and AIDS are preventable.  Be safe.  It’s not just a slogan!

Anthony