Posts Tagged ‘LGBT’

Random Friday Thoughts — August 24, 2018

Kids are heading back to school soon and summer is winding down.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

THANK YOU KELLY CLARKSON!

Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson has always been an ally to the LGBTQ community and earlier this week, she took on a homophobic fan on Twitter.

Back in December 2016, Clarkson invited fan Kiana Clark on stage to propose to her girlfriend, Amanda.

The couple married recently and Kelly congratulated them and then came the rude tweet.

But, Kelly handled it like a sweetheart!

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Oh, Terri, if you’re going to be condescending and rude, I want to let you know that “dikes” are built to hold back water.

The offensive slang you were trying to use is spelled with a “y”!

“MARILYN MONROE:  THE BIOGRAPHY”

I finished reading my 21st book of the year.

This 1993 biography by Donald Spoto is just one of many books written about Marilyn Monroe after her death in 1962.

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There’s no denying that in movies and magazines, Monroe was magic.

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But, boy was she one tormented soul!

She was pawned off from person to person as a kid and then spent time in an orphanage before she was married at 16-years-old to avoid another children’s home!

As she was trying to launch her career, she was even a “boulevard hooker”!

While there were many flaws in Monroe’s work ethic (tardiness and absenteeism), it’s easy to see from the book that she was a very generous and loving woman (to a fault).

It was heartbreaking reading about how Hollywood manipulated her financially as just another dumb blonde, when she worked so hard to be a great actress in both comedy and drama.

Also, her drug dependency (from 1954 to her death in August 1962) was sad.

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The book convinced me that her affair with President Kennedy was a one-night stand and that she and Bobby Kennedy never had an affair and that the Kennedys did NOT have her killed.

While there are many conspiracy theories out there, including the one I just mentioned, I believe that her psychiatrist/”doctor” ordered a drugged enema that negatively reacted with sleeping pills that Monroe had taken and that’s what killed her.

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Her death was ruled a “probable suicide”.

I had two faults with the book.  It could have had a better editor and the 611 pages of Monroe’s story could have easily been cut down to 500 pages!

Also, the author was very protective of his subject and lacked objectivity at times.  There was, at least, one instance in the book that he justified Monroe’s drug dependency, just like all the “yes” people and “doctors” she surrounded herself with.

CATERING DRUGS TO CELEBRITIES 

With the loss of such a legend as Monroe more than fifty years ago, it’s nice to know that “doctors” are much more careful about prescribing medication to celebrities.

Oh wait, that’s not true.  There’s Michael Jackson (2009), Whitney Houston (2012), and Prince (2016), for starters!

Just to drive home how crazy things are getting in the U.S. — two million Americans are addicted to opioid painkillers and nearly 50,000 died from opioids over a recent 12-month period!

“GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES”

Contracts are usually nasty pieces of paper.  They benefit the company more than the people signing them.

That was definitely the case for Marilyn Monroe when she did 1953’s iconic “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”.

For the movie, Marilyn was only paid $15,000, while her co-star Jane Russell was paid $150,000!

By the way, Russell was born in Bemidji, Minnesota, which is about 150 miles northwest of Duluth! 🙂

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

“Crazy Rich Asians” was the box office champion last weekend bringing in $26.5 million ($48.2 million over its first eight days)!  It’s expected to be #1 again this weekend.

Jon M. Chu has directed a classic romantic comedy — a masterpiece of not only love, but culture.

“Crazy Rich Asians” is a must-see!

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As Nick Young (Henry Golding) and his girlfriend, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), enjoy dessert in New York City, he asks her to join him on a trip back home in Singapore where he’s going to be the “best man” in his best friend’s wedding.  It’ll also give Rachel a chance to meet his family.

The movie is gorgeously shot and the cast is phenomenal.

It has romance, drama (not only with Nick’s mother), and humor, mostly supplied by actress/rapper Awkwafina.

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There’s one character not billed in the credits that’s vital to success of the movie — decadence!

It’s important to the movie’s charm and escapism — that mansion, the food, the parties, the wedding, and Singapore!

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“Crazy Rich Asians” shows that it’s time for executives to realize that movies don’t need white faces to make money.  But, then again, it’s hard for that to sink in when most of ones controlling the industry and making the decisions are older, white men!

GRADE:  A

MY COMPLETE REVIEW HERE

That was a condensed version of what I thought of the movie.  Here’s the complete and more exciting review (sexier and steamier)! 🙂

Click here and it’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/crazy-rich-asians-sparkles-fascinating-irresistible/

HELLO, SELENA TAN!

Selena Tan, who plays ‘Alix’, Nick’s aunt in “Crazy Rich Asians”, is hilarious at the beginning of the movie at the Bible study.  I wish she had had a bigger role in the movie.

I’m honored that she got to see my blog review of the movie and that she took the time to reply and follow me on Twitter!

Greetings across the miles!

Selena Tan

“ALEX STRANGELOVE” OR “LOVE, SIMON”

Decisions, decisions, decisions!  Which coming-of-age LGBTQ movie do you choose to watch if you haven’t already seen them?

Why do you have to choose? Watch them both!

“Alex Strangelove” is a touching Netflix comedy and it’s more realistic in tone and language than “Love, Simon” since it was made for a streaming service.

The sex talk about losing one’s virginity and about being gay is spot on.

And, the scene when Alex is practicing his come-on lines with his stuffed monkey is hilarious!

Daniel Doheny is very funny and adorkable as Alex.  At times, he looks like a young Andrew Garfield.

GRADE: B

“Love, Simon” was a box office success bringing in $66.2 million total ($40.8 million of that was in the U.S.).  Since it was a mainstream movie with a PG-13 rating, it wasn’t as wild and mature as “Alex Strangelove”.

Here’s what I wrote about “Love, Simon” after I saw it in March 2018:

Nick Robinson is adorable as closeted high school student Simon Spier living in an Atlanta suburb.  He has a great family and a group of close friends at school, but he a “huge ass secret” — he’s gay.

Once another student comes out as gay anonymously on an online message board, Simon, as “Jacques”, starts a private correspondence with the student, “Blue”.

The two form a connection in the private messages, but they still don’t know who the other is in real life.  Simon wants to meet, but “Blue” isn’t ready.

However, something happens and that’s where the drama comes in!

I think the most hilarious scene in the movie is when Simon’s sexy dad (Josh Duhamel) is bonding with his son and he suggests they both sign up for Grindr.

By the way, Dad, Grindr it’s not Facebook for gays! 🙂

I loved the movie and the message it presents to youngsters and young adults (and their families).

However, as a realist and an older gay man, the movie was wrapped up a little too perfect even with the drama Simon experienced.

But, regardless of age, we all want a happy ending!

GRADE: B+

NEW CHRISTMAS ALBUMS THIS FALL

While Christmas is still four months away, holiday albums usually come out in the fall.

I’m very excited about John Legend’s first Christmas album.  As of now, no title, track list or release date is known.

Maybe this 2010 track, “When Christmas Comes”, with Mariah Carey, will hold us over until we know more about Legend’s album.

Michael McDonald (The Doobie Brothers) is releasing “Season of Peace” on October 12th.  It’s a compilation from his first three Christmas albums, plus a new song.

Also, Eric Clapton’s first holiday disc, “Happy Xmas” also arrives on October 12th.

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It’ll feature classics like “White Christmas”, “Away in the Manger”, “Silent Night”, “Mary Christmas Baby”, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, along with seven lesser known titles, and an original “For Love on Christmas Day”.

It’ll also feature “Jingle Bells”, in memory of EDM superstar DJ Avicii, who died from suicide last spring in Oman.

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Martina McBride’s new collection “It’s The Holiday Season” comes out October 19th and will feature nine songs.

Now, I say “new” because her first holiday collection, “White Christmas”, came out in 1998 and there were “re-releases” in 1999, 2007, and a re-packaging and renaming of the album as “The Classic Christmas Album” in 2013!

Also, Brett Eldredge is working on a re-vamped version of his 2016 Christmas collection, “Glow”.

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This one is likely going to be called “Glow 2.0”.

And, finally, The Mavericks’ “Hey, Merry Christmas!” arrives November 2nd.

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 10, 2018

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts and to see what I’m thinking about this week.

Have a great weekend!

OFFENSIVE?

“Arrow” star Stephen Amell, a longtime ally of the LGBTQ community, enjoyed Vancouver Pride last weekend and his shirt caused quite a stir.

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Some find the shirt offensive saying he’s not really our ally to wear it!

However, a poll about whether the shirt is offensive says otherwise!

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What do you think???   By the way, I voted “Seriously?”

Let me know while I run to the ATM!  I know I have $20 in my checking account! 🙂

Now on to something really serious!

“CONVERSION THERAPY”

Conversion therapy is harmful and sad!

Kids that feel broken suffer even more and it doesn’t mend families, it destroys them.

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If you’re not familiar with “conversion therapy”, it’s an ill-fated, sad program that preys on a family’s fear of their son or daughter being LGBTQ.  It claims that you can change if you have feelings for someone of the same sex.

It uses psychological, physical, and spiritual torture to make an LGBTQ child “straight”.

In the United States, before 1981, ice-pick lobotomies, chemical castration with hormones, and aversion treatments (applying electric shock to the hands and/or genitals) were used to “change” gay people.

Electric shock treatment is still used in some places today!

A couple of popular expressions in the field are “Fake it till you make it” and “Pray away the gay”.

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In the United States, 12 states and the District of Columbia have outlawed conversion therapy for minors based on sexual orientation and gender identity of expression.  Those states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Maryland (October 1, 2018) and New Hampshire (January 1, 2019) will soon be added to the list.

There are many other counties, municipalities, and communities in the U.S. that outlaw conversion therapy for minors, even though it’s not recognized on the state level in those states.

As of this summer, there are bills to ban conversion therapy on minors that have been introduced or are pending in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico.

MICHELE & MARCUS BACHMANN

Minnesota’s own former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who has a record of being very anti-LGBTQ, has a skeleton in her closet when it comes to “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy”.

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The procedure was notably performed at Bachmann & Associates, a Christian therapy clinic started by Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, based in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.

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Ironic that I used the word “closet” when discussing the Bachmanns because of the “rumors”!

“BOY ERASED”

Two movies dealing with conversion therapy are coming out this year.

“Boy Erased”, based on the 2016 memoir of Garrard Conley, an Arkansas teenager outed in college to his fundamentalist parents.  His choice — be disowned or gay conversion therapy.

After seeing this powerful trailer, I’m convinced “Boy Erased” will be a strong Oscar contender.  It stars Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe and Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges.

I love Kidman and I’ve been a huge fan of 21-year-old Hedges since “Manchester By The Sea” and he was great in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”.

It also stars out pop star Troye Sivan.

“Boy Erased” hits theaters November 2, 2018.

“THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST”

The other “gay conversion” movie, The Miseducation of Cameron Post” starring Chloe Grace Moretz, debuted last weekend, in very limited release.

In just two theaters, it had an incredible box average of $26,500!

Chloe is a great actress and I can’t wait to see her stunning performance.

“MADAM SECRETARY”

As the fourth season ended in May, it was bittersweet.  I smiled, but I wanted to cry.

Madam Secretary Elizabeth McCord tells her husband Henry, that she wants to run for president.

He replies, “I’m with you!”

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MORE “MADAM SECRETARY” (BIG GUEST STARS!)

When the fifth season of kicks off Sunday, October 7th on CBS, the shows will have some heavy hitters making guest star appearances.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, and Madeleine Albright will star.

This will be Albright’s second appearance on the show.  She guest starred in 2015.

P.S.  In 45’s revolving door of cabinet and staff, whoever is Secretary of State was probably not invited. 🙂

THEY SAID WHAT — ABOUT 45???

Madonna (to “Vogue Italia”):  “I felt like we needed a change, and I wanted to get out of America for a minute ― as you know, this is not America’s finest hour.”\

Hollywood show runner Ryan Murphy (on having a 1980s version of “that man” on his FX hit series “Pose” and then scrapping the idea):  “I just don’t want to see him. I do not want to see that face, didn’t want to hear that voice, didn’t want that presence to pollute something very pure and beautiful. We almost never say his name, it’s a Pavlovian cringe at this point. I think it was a right decision.”

Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham:

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“WHO IS AMERICA”

If you haven’t seen this Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime series, you’re missing out on mind-boggling reality television!

I call it reality because, sadly, it shows how really f***ed up some are in this country!

The blatant racism is sad to watch and the things people say or do to show their blind love for 45 is just incredible.

After his ignorant and racist appearance on the show, Republican Georgia lawmaker Jason Spencer resigned his position.

Here’s what I tweeted to Cohen and Showtime about the show.

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Cohen also duped former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  It’s unknown if that segment will air or not!

RETURN DATES ON MY FAVORITE SHOWS

Now that “Pose”, “Dietland”, “Claws”, and “Sharp Objects” are done or winding down and “The Sinner” is just getting started, I can’t wait for my next round of favorite series to return this fall.

Here are the return dates on those:

September 12 — “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” (FX)

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The first trailer came out earlier this week!

September 23 & 24 — “9-1-1” (FOX) (2-night premiere)

September 24 — “The Good Doctor” (ABC)

September 27 — “How To Get Away With Murder” (ABC)

October 7 — “Madam Secretary’ (CBS)

November 2 — “House of Cards” (Netflix)

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Still no date on the return of season 4 of “Mr. Robot” (USA).

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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90s NOSTALGIA

In the late-1980s and 1990s (and beyond), I was obsessed with Taylor Dayne and her music.

I’ve seen her in concert twice (and almost a third time, but we won’t talk about that).

My favorite album is still “Can’t Fight Fate” from 1989.

That album produced Taylor’s only #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Love Will Lead You Back”, and two more Top Five hits, “I’ll Be Your Shelter”, and this one, the album’s lead single, “With Every Beat of My Heart”.

This is such a stunning and sexy video!

“Heart of Stone”, the fourth single, peaked at #12 on the Hot 100.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 27, 2018

July is basically over and we’ll be heading into the last unofficial month of summer soon.  Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

CELEBRITY AND ACTIVISM

Being in the public eye can be a “Catch 22”.

There are people that think you should stick to whatever it is you’re known for (singing, acting, giving the weather, etc.) and you should keep your personal views and thoughts to yourself.

While I’m not a celebrity, I’ve been a very vocal advocate for LGBT rights and marriage equality.  I was also a Hillary Clinton supporter and I didn’t hide it.

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I know I’ve helped some families deal with relatives coming out as LGBTQ.

But, I’ve also had a few people tell me to stick to television weather and keep my views to myself.  My response to that is that if you don’t like my “views”, then you shouldn’t have friended me on Facebook or read my blogs. (I don’t share my personal views on my professional social media page.)

A former co-worker once expressed his strong dislike for Meryl Streep because she uses her public platform to express her views or her politics.

To that I replied, “I’m a Meryl Streep-loving, tree hugging liberal and I’m proud of it!”

I’m a strong believer that if you have a platform and people’s attention, you should use it to try and educate them on matters they may not be that familiar with!

IMAGINE DRAGONS (AND UNICORNS)

The Grammy Award winning, Las Vegas-based group Imagine Dragons have sold more than 12 million albums and 35 million singles.

They’ve had massive radio hits like 2012’s “Radioactive” and last year’s “Believer”, “Thunder”, and “Whatever It Takes”.

While they’re one of the hottest rock bands on the planet, the group started getting more attention — namely from Mormons and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — when lead singer Dan Reynolds reached out to and began defending the LGBTQ community.

Why?  In Utah, suicide is the leading cause of death for teenagers!!!

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WAKE THE F*CK UP UTAH!  (That’s me speaking and not Dan in those exact words!)

A new HBO documentary, “Believer”, came out in June.

It talks about the struggles of LGBTQ communities across Utah, the suicide rate, and what Reynolds and Neon Trees lead singer Tyler Glenn and others are doing to fight this tragedy.  It also takes on the double cross-talking Mormon church!

Now, I wonder what my former colleague that was always singing “Thunder” would think about Reynolds speaking out against the church’s views on being LGBTQ?  Is Reynolds now in the Streep camp of just “shut up and sing”?

LOVELOUD

The second annual LOVELOUD concert with proceeds supporting national and local LGBTQ+ charities will be held Saturday, July 28, 2018, in Salt Lake City with Imagine Dragons, Tyler Glenn, Zedd, and more.

“SHUT UP & SING”

As the 2003 Iraq War was about to get underway, Natalie Maines, the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, told a London, England audience, at the kickoff of the “Top of the World Tour”, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States (George W. Bush) is from Texas.”

Once those comments made it to the U.S. and onto every right-wing, conservative radio and television show (and into newspapers), their country music career was over and they became pariahs in that genre.

Their hit, “Travelin’ Soldier”, was #1 on the country chart when the comments were made.  After Cumulus Media dropped the Dixie Chicks from their 42 country stations, the song dropped to #3 the next week and off the entire chart one week later!

They got death threats, which was the premise of the excellent documentary, “Shut Up & Sing”.

Kudos to Natalie, Emily Robinson, and Martie Maguire for putting on a strong face in the face of the turmoil and being called every name in the book!

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The controversy played heavily into their Grammy Award-winning comeback, sans country radio, with “Take The Long Way” and “Not Ready To Make Nice” in 2006.

It was during this time that I first saw them in concert in Chicago in 2006 on the “Accidents & Accusations Tour”.

By the way, Bush responded, “The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they want to say … they shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records when they speak out … Freedom is a two-way street … I don’t really care what the Dixie Chicks said. I want to do what I think is right for the American people, and if some singers or Hollywood stars feel like speaking out, that’s fine. That’s the great thing about America.”

“LATTER DAYS”

This movie, written by former Mormon C. Jay Cox (“Sweet Home Alabama”) is still one of my favorite movies after a decade.

It’s the story of a group of Mormons on their two-year mission to Los Angeles and one of them has a big secret.

It’s funny, loving, sad, and heartbreaking with amazing performances from leads Steve Sandvoss and Wes Ramsey and guest stars Jacqueline Bisset, Mary Kay Place, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

A must-see!

NOAH’S ARK

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“A QUIET PLACE”

I’m probably one of the last people to finally see this incredible movie.

This $19 million dollar picture, which marked Krasinski’s directing debut, has already brought in $332.4 million dollars!

I love Emily Blunt and she’s incredible (when isn’t she?) and absolutely crush on John Krasinski!  This movie definitely marks his place in Hollywood as a promising director!

I’m claustrophobic and this movie took my breath away with the silence!  Silence that when broken is deadly!

Millicent Simmonds, who played Blunt and Krasinski’s daughter, is magnificent, too.

The movie ended perfectly for a sequel and one is on the way.

Does it need one?  No.  It’s a perfect stand alone movie.   However, it gives us a chance to see more of Blunt and Simmonds.

I hope that the sequel works as both a sequel AND a prequel — without a “spoiler alert”, that’s all I’ll say. 🙂

GRADE:  A

“STREISAND:  HER LIFE”

In my eight weeks since moving to Duluth, I haven’t read a book.  The last book I finished was my 20th of the year, “Streisand:  Her Life” by James Spada.

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It’s amazing how talented Streisand is — from music to television to Broadway to movies.

Based entirely on her looks as a child and a young woman, no one believed she had what it took to make it!  And, now she’s an Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy award winner!

But, the book doesn’t hold back on how self-centered she is or comes across.

Her friend, composer James Newton Howard (“Pretty Woman”):  “Barbra is a sweetheart, but she can be quite blunt.  If you’re not thick-skinned, then she’s not easy to think.  I happen to think she’s a genius.  The process of working with her is a difficult one because her perfectionism is unequaled.  She’s incredibly demanding, but I can truthfully say that working with her has elevated my own work.”

While demanding, she also uses her name and talent to promote causes she believes in — being a staunch liberal! 🙂

Speaking to students at Harvard in 1995, Barbra said, “I’m also very proud to be a liberal.  Why is that so terrible these days?  [The audience cheered].

She continued, “The liberals were liberating.  They fought slavery, fought for women to have the right to vote… fought to end segregation, fought to end apartheid.  Thanks to liberals, we have Social Security, public education, consumer and environmental protection, Medicare, Medicaid, the minimum-wage law, unemployment compensation.  Liberals put an end to child labor.  They even gave us the five-day work week.  What’s to be ashamed of?…”

Still speaking,  “I have opinions, nobody has to agree — I just like being involved, and after many years of self-scrutiny, I’ve realized that the most satisfying feelings come from things outside myself.”

Finally, she concluded, “So until women are treated equally with men, until gays and minorities are not discriminated against, until children have their full rights, artists must continue to speak out, and I will be one of them.  Sorry, Rush, Newt, Jesse — the artist as citizen is here to stay.”
Barbra’s been working on her autobiography for years and it was to be released in 2018.  However, that’s not looking likely.  She told “Entertainment Weekly” that the part about “A Star Is Born” is already 50 pages long!
BARBRA’S MUSIC

In her 50-plus-year career, Barbra scored 22 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with 13 of them reaching the Top Ten.

She’s had five chart toppers:  “The Way We Were”, “Evergreen”, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” (with Neil Diamond), “No More Tears” (with Donna Summer), and “Woman in Love”.

One of my favorites, “Left in the Dark”, the lead single from her 1984 album, “Emotion”, only reached #50 on the Billboard Hot 100.  But, it reached #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

A “POSE” CHRISTMAS COMES EARLY

Christmas is now just five months away.

As you already know, I love FX’s “Pose” and it was renewed for a second season.

The first season has wrapped up, but just three episodes in, I got the thing I love most about any series — a Christmas episode!

Work it Blanca in a Pray Tell creation!

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Angel also looked lovely in the heartwarming episode!

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THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Tab Hunter Confidential

Matinee idol and LGBT legend Tab Hunter has died at the age of 86.

Hunter was the hottest sex symbol is the 1950s and was usually seen in public with beautiful ingenues, like Natalie Wood.

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It was all a front to hide his sexuality and maintain his matinee idol status.

Tab Hunter Confidential

In his book, the 19th that I’ve read this year, Hunter doesn’t go into any sordid details about his sexual escapades, but he did talk a lot about his relationship with “Psycho” star Anthony Perkins.

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One interesting story that Hunter shared was when an ex-lover tried to blackmail him.  The man, desperate for money, threatened to sell all the letters Hunter had sent him to the “Enquirer” in the late-1970s.

Hunter paid him off ($10,000) and the man asked to keep them because they meant something to him!!!! Um, yeah, blackmail material.  However, the man died a few years later.

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Hunter expanded his resume by starring in two John Waters’ films with Divine in the 1980s: 1981’s “Polyester” and 1985’s much underappreciated “Lust in the Dust”.

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He also spent six-weeks at #1 on the Billboard pop charts in 1957 with “Young Love”.

Hunter was just three day shy of his 87th birthday when he died Sunday.  He was with his partner, film producer Allan Glaser, for more than 35 years.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 6, 2018

I hope you had a great Fourth of July and you’re ready for the weekend.

In retrospective, my “Random Friday Thoughts” last week were a little bleak.  This week, it’s happier.  Well, once you get past the second one!

Thank you for checking out my thoughts and feel free to share yours.

HAPPY 72ND ANNIVERSARY

My favorite president and his wonderful wife are celebrating their 72nd wedding anniversary this weekend.

Autograph Carters

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were married on July 7, 1946, at the Plains Methodist Church.

He was 21 and just out of the Navy and she was 18.

Interesting tidbit:  Just months earlier, she said “no” when he first asked her to marry him. 🙂

THE “TRANSGENDER” STATE

In America, it’s pretty much a given that straight, white men run the country and most businesses.  That’s slowly changing.

Even in the LGBTQ community, it’s usually white, gay men at the forefront when it comes to being more privileged and in positions of power.  That’s slowly changing, too.

Sadly, it’s the “T” part of LGBTQ, our transgender brothers and sisters, that feel the brunt of hysteria and discrimination from not only straight America, but even from within our own community!  It’s shameful!

It’s bad enough that the government is trying to keep the trans community out of the military, but they also have to fight just for the right to use bathrooms without people thinking there are ulterior motives like child molestation.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg.  As of 2009 worldwide, at least one transgender person is murdered every three days on average!

Here in America, there’s been an increase in the number of transgender men and women killed and a large number of those are transgender women of color!

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In 2017, there were at least 28 trans people murdered!

So far this year in the U.S., there have been thirteen trans people killed, including three in Jacksonville, Florida, prompting some there to think a serial killer is targeting the trans community!

I have several transgender friends and one is a very dear friend.  She’s bright and she’s very vocal in pointing out all of the atrocities that she and the community go through in daily life.

I hope she remains safe and always WOKE!

“POSE”

Our trans friends are just like everyone else and they want the same things everyone else wants!  Some lead quiet lives and some want the glamour and fame!

That’s the focus of uber-producer and Hollywood heavyweight Ryan Murphy’s latest FX series, “Pose”.

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It’s set in New York City in the late-1980s and focuses on the underground world of “ball culture”.  (Oh, there’s also corporate greed and “white privilege” — compliments of those in Trump Tower!)

Most people are unfamiliar with “ball culture”.  It’s basically drag contests in the underground world where contestants compete for trophies to see which “house”, usually a group of outcasts seeking security from a family and a “mother”, the queen of that house.

“Ball culture” is the topic of Jenny Livingston’s landmark documentary, “Paris is Burning” and the inspiration for Madonna’s 1990 career-defining worldwide hit, “Vogue”, that made “posing” and “voguing” mainstream!

In “Pose”, we have the prominent “House of Abundance” led by Elektra (the amazing Dominique Jackson), which takes most of the trophies at the balls.  Elektra is like the Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan of “Dynasty”.

Dominique Jackson as Elektra Abundance.jpg

Yes, “Dynasty” is brought up — it’s the late-1980s.

The drama escalates when one of her “children”, Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), leaves and starts the “House of Evangelista”.  She becomes the Krystal Carrington,  if you will.

While I love Dominique Jackson’s evil (and she truly is) portrayal of Elektra, Mj Rodriguez’s Blanca is my favorite.  She’s loving, caring, hard-headed, and heartbreaking.

Blanca 1

Billy Porter (“Kinky Boots”) is fabulous as the emcee of the balls and Blanca’s friend.

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“Pose” features the largest transgender cast ever assembled on television.

What I love about “Pose” is the real story lines.  You’d think you were living right there with them — from the transphobia directed at them not only from straight America, but also the yuppie, white gay boys.

One of the characters is diagnosed with HIV early on and “Pose” does not hold back on showing how many in the medical field dealt with those dying of AIDS.

Ronald Reagan doesn’t get a “free pass” for his ignorance, denial, and handling of the AIDS plague either.

And, the music is fantabulous!

I hope “Pose” is renewed for a second season.  However, ratings for the series are really low. 😦

“DON’T JUST STAND THERE — STRIKE A POSE!”

In 1990, Madonna’s “Vogue” topped the charts in more than 30 counties and became the biggest selling single in the world that year with more than six million copies sold!

MINNESOTA STATE FAIR FOOD

Once I landed the job in Duluth, Minnesota, in early April, I stayed in Panama City, Florida, to fulfill my apartment lease and to get my old station through the May ratings period.

Now I wish I had moved here earlier to take time off to go to the Minnesota State Fair for the “Life Tour” —  Boy George and Culture Club, The B-52s, and Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey — all on the same bill on Labor Day!

And, I’d love to sample some of the new food this year — Za-Waffle Sticks (waffles blended with pepperoni and mozzarella, topped with a parmesan herb blend and served with pepperoni-infused maple syrup or marinara sauce) and Sweet Greek Cheese Puffs (flaky phyllo dough filled with feta and ricotta cheese, deep-fried, drizzled with honey and topped with powdered sugar.).

But, my favorite new offering there is one I think I can make at home with a little experimenting — Firecracker Shrimp Stuffed Avocado!

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It’s Gulf white shrimp tossed with lime, onion, black beans, tomato and fire-roasted corn in a garlic aioli (mayonnaise seasoned with garlic), drizzled with cilantro-infused olive oil, stuffed in avocado halves and served open-face with flatbread!

That’s similar to one of my favorite appetizers to make — Shrimp Ceviche , which is pictured here!  (Yes, I made these!)Shrimp C

WHITNEY: CAN I BE ME

This Showtime documentary was incredible!

It didn’t shy away from Whitney’s drug use as a teenager, her fear of disappointing God, the rumors about whether she was a lesbian or bisexual, and her spiral out of control that ultimately cost her her life in early 2012.

It was mind-boggling hearing that people were more comfortable ignoring her abuses of drugs and alcohol than it was to accept that she might be a lesbian black woman!

A new “Whitney” documentary hits theaters this weekend.

If you’re a Whitney Houston fan, what are your favorite songs?

Here are my ten favorites.  Of course, it was hard making this list because she had so many amazing songs.

By clicking on this link, it’ll open in a new window!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/remembering-whitney-houston/

90s NOSTALGIA

Since moving to Duluth a month ago, I’ve been a little nostalgic about my previous times living in the Midwest and Great Lakes back in the 1990s.

When I visited Chicago over Memorial Day weekend 1994, I made my decision to move there and six weeks later I was living in the “Windy City”.

While there for Memorial Day, we partied at the Gentry on Rush and I heard “Dreams” by English singer Gabrielle and I fell in love with the song and, ultimately, the album.

While the song hit the Top Ten in more than a dozen countries in 1993 and 1994, it only reached #26 on the Billboard Hot 100.

However, it did top the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart here in the U.S.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 29, 2018

It’s hard for me to believe that July is almost here.  Summer just started and it seems like it’s quickly passing by!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

I’ve done well not talking about “that man” too much lately, but I am today.  If you disagree and want to tell me, that’s fine as long as you do it diplomatically.  I feel that I’m voicing my thoughts that way!

45’S DULUTH RALLY 

Last week, 45 visited Duluth, Minnesota, and I was teased by friends about the visit.

Hey, there’s no wall here in Minnesota to keep him out!  There was nothing I could do about it! 🙂

45 was heckled by a couple of protesters that made it inside and he quickly had them thrown out.  They still intimidate him!

45’S SPIN ON WINNING MINNESOTA

Since I was forced to listen to some of his speech, I’ll comment on something he said and I’ll clarify it for DJT.

During the pep rally, 45 mentioned that he almost won Minnesota in the 2016 election.  Other than Illinois, it was the only blue state in the Midwest.

What he selectively forget to say was that he lost Minnesota by 44,765 votes.  He said, he was “this close” to winning.

However, our bordering state, Wisconsin, separated from Duluth by just a bridge, was much closer to going to Hillary Clinton!  She only lost Wisconsin by 22,748 votes.

So, he was much closer on “this close” to losing Wisconsin than actually winning Minnesota!

Hillary Laughing

Sounds like he’s guilty of “fake news”, too!  You’re shocked, right?

But, it is what it is!  The results are the same. 😦

“ROLLING STONE” DULUTH DISS

Let me reel it in — I got sidetracked!

The point of talking about “that man” is an online “Rolling Stone” article about 45’s visit by Ana Marie Cox.

Rolling Stone.JPG

Cox really had nothing nice to say about Duluth or even neighboring Wisconsin with its “greasy…imports”!

She stressed, “Duluth is a struggling post-manufacturing cipher with the highest drug overdose rate in the state” and talked about the city’s “poverty rate (21 percent) that would rank it among the most desperate counties in West Virginia and per capita income just below that of Wheeling”.

And, if that wasn’t brutal enough, she described the area around Lake Superior as “stolid, brutalist mid-century relics and precarious-seeming industrial shipping contraptions, rusty and mostly silent” and the downtown area where “every surface is covered with a thin layer of grime.”

She summed it all up, “in other words, potential Trump Country.”

Duluth.jpg

I’ve only lived in Duluth for four weeks now.  I feel very welcome and comfortable here –much more than I did in Panama City in the Panhandle of Florida.  Ana Marie Cox, let me tell you, that is true “Trump Country”.

And, the statistics she used, which were likely Googled, may be true.  I can’t and won’t say that Duluth is perfect city or utopia, but look around at many other cities in the country!  Take a visit to Youngstown, Ohio!

The issue with the article that fired me up the most was referring to Duluth and the Northland as “potential Trump Country”.

45 talked to a near capacity crowd of less than 9,000 people in the Amsoil Arena with more turned away outside.

I know there are fervent 45 supporters in Minnesota and Wisconsin and many of them drove for hours to see him.

Cox referred to Duluth as “the small city of 80,000”.  I can work with that number for the point I’m going to make.

It’s needs to be stressed that the Duluth MSA (metropolitan statistical area — grossly simplified as adjacent counties to an urban core with commuters) has a population of roughly 279,771.  That’s the second-largest in Minnesota!

So, when you’re taking about 10-thousand people at the arena for his visit out of “80,000” in Duluth or more than one-quarter million in the Duluth MSA — this is not “Trump Country” or “potential Trump Country”.

Hundreds of thousands living here could have cared less about him visiting!

NEXT!

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

This week, in 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made “marriage equality” the law of the land.

“Gay marriage” and “same sex marriage” simply became marriage.

On the night of the ruling, Barack Obama’s and the people’s White House was aglow in rainbow colors.

white_house_rainbow

Boy, that iconic institution stands for much different things today than it did three years ago! 😦

AN END OF PRIDE MONTH DOWNER!

Earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he was retiring.

Ironically, it was one year ago this week that I wrote this about Kennedy:  “Rumors are swirling that Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Anthony Kennedy, almost 81-years-old, might be ready to announce his retirement.”

Anthony Kennedy

This is a major blow to the LGBTQ community and for women!

Three years ago, Kennedy authored the SCOTUS decision to make “marriage equality” a reality.

He eloquently stated: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

What all this means now is “that man” will get another conservative justice to solidify the divisiveness not only in the country, but at the highest court in America, too!

A “GOLDEN” PICK ME UP!

Damn, this blog is a downer and there’s still more below! 😦  Here’s a pick me up, even if just for me. 🙂

International and gay icon Kylie Minogue closed out this year’s New York City Pride.

If I only see one concert this year, I want it to be Kylie.  However, that probably won’t happen until 2019 when she’ll likely tour the U.S.

Here’s her latest hit and title track from her new country-tinged dance album is “Golden”.

“We’re golden/Burn like the stars/ Stay golden/
Straight from the heart/We’re the voice that’ll never give in/
Getting knocked down, back up again/We’re golden/That’s who we are/”

“LARRY KRAMER: IN LOVE & ANGER”

Sadly, most people don’t know Larry Kramer.

What’s even sadder is that most of the youth in the LGBTQ community today don’t know the pain and sacrifice this man went through to give them chances that he and his friends never had back in the 1980s and 1990s.

Kramer was a Hollywood screenwriter and gained fame in 1969 penning the Oscar-nominated film “Women in Love”. 

But, his fortune came four years later on the flop, “Lost Horizon”. That film gave Kramer the financial security to do something he wanted to do:  write about the gay community.

He did and his 1978 novel, “Faggots”, about the out and open gay community of New York City in the 1970s before AIDS was controversial.

Middle America was shocked about the easy come and easy go world of sex and drugs and the gay community shunned him because he exposed their lifestyle.

But, Kramer became a beacon of hope for gay men dying of AIDS in the 1980s by starting the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center (GMHC) and ACT UP, an activist group that put the heat on politicians (most notably President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and New York Mayor Ed Koch) to get off their asses and start fighting AIDS!

Larry+Kramer+in+Love+02.jpg

Kramer was so outspoken and blunt that he was forced out of GMHC, the group he founded!

His biggest literary success was the autobiographical Off-Broadway play, “The Normal Heart”, in the 1980s.  It played on Broadway in 2011 and was made into a hit movie in 2014.

Kramer turned 83 earlier this week.  He’s still writing and is still a major force in the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities.

“THE NORMAL HEART”

If you didn’t catch this Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics Choice Television Award winner, please do so now!

It stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch, and Julia Roberts.  It was directed by Ryan Murphy.

RETROSPECTIVE REGRETS

As many of you know from my blog and social media, I’m outspoken on matters of LGBTQ equality and for HIV/AIDS.

We all have a voice and with the platform I’ve been given, I feel it’s only right that I use it to educate people and spread the word that LGBTQ people are just like everyone else — we work, we pay taxes, we hurt, we love, and we want happiness.

It’s probably the fact that we love and want physical intimacy that alarms many people on the “right” (in other words, in the “wrong”).

So, if I educate one person at a time and maybe that person sees things more openly, then I’ve succeeded.

However, watching the Larry Kramer documentary brought a feeling of regret for me of wasted years.

Ap 1987.jpg

Back in the early-1980s when gay men in San Francisco and New York City started dying at an alarming rate, I was in small town Kentucky.  It felt like a world away from this unnamed “gay cancer” killing “homosexuals”.

It wasn’t until the late-1980s that I knew a person that died of AIDS.

In the early-1990s, I started reading “The Advocate” and I learned about the big gay world and all of the hideous things LGBT people were fighting for and against (AIDS, funding for AIDS medication, homophobia, gay bashing, etc.).

Even then, in my 20s, I lived my life without the worries of the real world — other than the occasional hurled slurs, “faggots” or “queers”, toward me and my friends if we were leaving or going into the gay bar or hanging out at the Paducah Riverfront.

We can’t go back and change things.

But, if I could, Larry Kramer, I’d be with you in New York City and Washington D.C. fighting the system.  I’d be at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue chaining myself to the fence in a “die-in” or I’d be yelling at Reagan to fight for the lives of all Americans and pleading with Nancy to make him listen!

silence death

Larry, thank you for your sacrifices and I want to thank you for me just being here today!

“PATRICK MELROSE”

Some of you may only know Benedict Cumberbatch as “Sherlock” from television or as “Doctor Strange” in the Marvel Universe!

I’ve never seen either of those roles, but I was blown away by his Oscar-nominated performance as Alan Turing in 2014’s “The Imitation Game”.

I think that Cumberbatch now needs to clear some space on his mantle for his second Emmy Award!

He rightfully earned it in the first episode of Showtime’s five-part drama series, “Patrick Melrose” from this spring!

It’s 1982 and Patrick (Cumberbatch) heads off to New York City to retrieve the ashes of his father, David.

The episode shows Melrose strung out on almost every drug imaginable and in an alcohol-fueled insanity!

Also, the incredible Jennifer Jason Leigh will likely be getting some Emmy love herself, playing Melrose’s drunk and lousy mother, Eleanor.

Hugo Weaving plays Melrose’s father and earns every bit of hate directed toward him.

An excellent “Tour de force” for every actor in the series!

However, I’m now very torn because this will likely pit Cumberbatch and Jason Leigh against Darren Criss and Judith Light (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”) in the Emmy race for Limited Series or Movie categories!

GRADE:  A

90s NOSTALGIA

Since moving to Duluth, Minnesota, this month, I’ve been a little nostalgic about my previous times living in the Midwest and Great Lakes back in the 1990s.

After moving to Milwaukee for the summer of 1990 and then back home to Kentucky, this song became popular in 1992.  Remember it?

While the song only reached #36 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was one of the first techno hits to make the chart.

However, “Love U More” topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart for two weeks in early 1993.

It was the first of four #1 Billboard Dance songs in America for the British band.  They also had two others to reach #2 on that chart!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 27, 2018

It’s crazy to believe that we’re already heading into May!  Here’s to a great weekend and thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

While a sad occasion, Barbara Bush’s funeral last weekend brought out the best of both sides.

America the Beautiful

Sadly, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn were unable to attend.

The Carter Center announced that the former president was “on a private trip overseas, and although she is recovering, Mrs. Carter is not yet able to travel following her recent intestinal surgery.”

THAT DON’T IMPRESS ME MUCH!

Canadian country and pop superstar Shania Twain was at the center of a social media storm last weekend.

I admit that I, too, was flabbergasted when she said she would have voted for Donald Trump in 2016!

Twain told “The Guardian”, “I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest. Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don’t want bullshit. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right?”

Okay, everyone has a right to their opinion.  But, just because you’re “honest” doesn’t mean your views are on the right side of history!  And, it doesn’t mean you’re qualified!

Well, needless to say, there was an internet uproar that ranged from “No”, “she’s a has been”, “who”, and this popular meme.

whatever

By Sunday afternoon, Twain was in damage control posting four messages on her Twitter page.

Twain 1Twain 2Twain 3Twain 4

My last thoughts on the matter is that new stars get media training to know how and what to say and what not to say.  She’s not a newcomer, so if that question was awkward, she could have danced around it.

Finally, I still love her music, I’m glad I saw her in concert, and that she was my first awkward attempt at a selfie.

AP Shania

It helped me be more experienced for the selfie that truly mattered. 🙂

Hillary AP

AVICII — DEAD AT 28

Last Friday, I was shocked to learn of the sudden death of Swedish electronic music DJ Avicii in Muscat, Oman.

Avicii and Madonna

At the time, the family said, “It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii… The family is devastated…”

While not publicly announced, sources close to family now says Avicii died from an apparent suicide.

“Entertainment Weekly” obtained this statement, “Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions… When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most – music. He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness. He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace.”

I know he had experienced health issues and anxiety in the past that prompted him to give up touring in 2016.  But, this is still a shock.

Avicii worked with artists as diverse as Madonna, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, and Coldplay.

Avicii True

His debut album, “True”, was my #11 album of the 2013 and “Wake Me Up” was the biggest hit of his career.

BONUS — AVICII + MADONNA (“GIRL GONE WILD”)

So young and so sad!

SHOCKING PRESIDENTIAL BEHAVIOR (PART 2)

RL Stahl

In her “Reporting Live” autobiography, CBS News and “60 Minutes” reporter Lesley Stahl, talks about the time George H. W. Bush, after a contentious interview with Dan Rather, made a rather rude comment comparing her to Rather.

While the microphone was still open, Bush said, “The bastard didn’t lay a glove on me”adding that Rather made “Leslie Stahl look like a pussy.”  (Normally, I’d not spell that word out, but Stahl was brave enough to do it in her book.)

George-H-W-Bush-wife-Barbara-Bush

Bush’s camp told Stahl that he meant to say “pussycat”.

However, Bush’s public apology only made matters worse.  He said, “If I had known the microphone was on, I wouldn’t have done it at all.”

What?  He only apologized because the microphone was still on and not for his juvenile vulgarity?

“LOOKING”

Last week, Comcast gave its customers free access to HBO and other networks.  The last time they did this, I caught the first season of “The Leftovers”.  I still need to see seasons two and three.

This time, I binge-watched seasons one and two (18 30-minute episodes) of the LGBT series, “Looking”, and “Looking: The Movie”, which wrapped up the cancelled-too-soon series.

Looking

It’s the story of three friends, Patrick (Jonathan Groff), Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez), and Dom (Murray Bartlett) as they navigate life in San Francisco’s Castro District.

The supporting cast was amazing, too.

Doris (Lauren Weedman), Dom’s roommate and best friend from childhood, was too funny, and Patrick’s boyfriends (over the two seasons), Richie (Raul Castillo) and Kevin (Russell Tovey) were too sexy.

While the eighteen regular episodes were entertaining and funny, “The Movie” was incredible.

Spoiler alert:  This “movie” trailer might give something away that happened in seasons one and two!

It brought back a lot of memories of me and my party days of my 20s and 30s.

It made me miss one of my friends that’s a space cadet and was never good at keeping in touch and my former “best friend” that chooses not to stay in touch.  Bummer!

“THE SHAPE OF WATER” WORDS OF WISDOM

“Never trust a man even if he looks flat down there!”

Shape of Water

FINAL “SCANDAL” THOUGHTS

Here’s another funny quote between President Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) and her former Chief of Staff Elizabeth North (Portia de Rossi).

Mellie:  “You don’t like me!”

Liz:  “I don’t like people!”

Mellie

I never bought into mild-mannered Gladiator Quinn Perkins becoming a B-613 killing machine.

When Huck, Charlie, and Quinn would torture and/or kill “bad” people or people they needed information from, the whole wrapping them in saran wrap was either paying homage to or ripping off “Dexter”!

Which brings me around to sharing this one again — after all Christmas is about eight months away! 🙂

Dexter Elf

BOOKS #12, #13, & #14

After giving up on “The Walking Dead” following the season eight finale, I just finished reading my twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth books of the year.

This is a technicality — I just finished “The Walking Dead” Compendium One, Two, and Three that I got for Christmas two years ago.

WD

The mammoth books, literally weighing in at around five pounds each, cover the graphics novels from issues 1 through 144.

It was interesting to read them since some characters on the TV series are still alive and they are dead in the books and vice versa.  Also, there are some characters in the TV show that are not in the books.

Toward the end of the third book, we’re introduced to “The Whisperers”, which was an interesting twist.

However, it’s not enough to bring me back for season nine of the AMC series!

“AUTOMATIC” “LOOKING” BONUS

The Pointer Sisters took “Automatic” to the Top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984 (#2 Dance).

The song, by Ultra Nate, appeared in a nightclub scene in the “Looking” movie (2016).  However, her version topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart in 2007.

It’s just one of her 20 Top Ten Billboard Dance hits! (Seven have reached #1!)

And, check out this hot video.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 16, 2018

We’re midway through February now and for my snow-weary Midwest friends, spring is getting closer.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

“REAL LIFE” TIME JUMP

When I was a kid, I was always looking forward to something and counting down to it (some things never change)!  My grandmother would wisely tell me that I was “wishing my life away”.

In the middle of the season of a television show I’m binge-watching now, it jumped ahead ten months from one episode to the next — usually that happens from one season to the next.

While I’d be wishing my life away, I so wish I could have a “real life” time jump and not be “wishing my life away”.  Except for the trips I’ve taken since moving to Florida, I haven’t been “living”, just surviving.

may 2019

But, by the summer of 2019, I’ll be living again — somewhere other than Florida!

I just need to find distractions until then.  For now, it’s reading and walking and binge watching television and movies.

BLOWING OFF THE VICE PRESIDENT

There’s been plenty of talk lately about 2018 Winter Olympics bronze medalist gay figure skater Adam Rippon and Vice President Mike Pence.

It all stems from Pence’s horrid LGBT track record.

Pence

Okay, just because Pence is the vice president doesn’t mean you must meet with him!  We’re still “free” to choose, right?

If it was me and Pence just wanted a photo op and I was appalled by his anti-LGBT policies (and I am), no way.

However, if it was going to be a conversation or a dialogue, I’d meet with him in a heartbeat to express to him man-to-man my displeasure with his ignorant and hateful policies of the past and the current administration that he’s a part of.

BEST SERIES FINALE

While it’s on its seventh and final season on ABC, I just started binge-watching “Scandal” and I’m almost done with season four.

I want to be Olivia Pope!  Kerry Washington is amazing!

She loves wine and popcorn (like me), but I’ve never had them together.

Olivia

Unlike me, she has two hot men fighting for her.

There’s Jake Ballard (the very sensual Scott Foley)…

SF.png

and President Fitzgerald Grant III (the very sexy Tony Goldwyn).

tony goldwyn

So, how do I know that “Scandal” isn’t real and it’s just part of Shondaland?  The picture below is why! 🙂

ap exam

RANKING THE SERIES I’VE WATCHED

When I started “Scandal”, I was thinking back to the five series I’ve watched from beginning to end and only two finales were truly fulfilling.

spoiler-alert

Since “House of Cards” is returning for the final season this year, it’s not included, yet I’m including “The X-Files” because it was done after nine seasons.

However, in television, I guess nothing is dead.

A six-episode tenth season aired in 2016.  We’re currently in a ten-episode run for the eleventh and final season since Gillian Anderson says she won’t return and creator Chris Carter says there’s no more “The X-Files” without Dana Scully!

5th place: “The X-Files”  — that whole bomb blast that killed (?)/disfigured the “Cigarette-Smoking Man”!  Really?

4th place: “Dexter” — Amazing series and I absolutely love (and crush on) Michael C. Hall and the twisted Dexter Morgan.

Dexter

But, a dead sister, a boat explosion, and becoming a logger?  As Debra would say, “Jesus F**k Dexter!”

3rd place: “Fringe”

2nd place:  “Six Feet Under” — the flash forward to the character’s deaths was awesome.

Six Feet Under starring Rachel Griffiths, Peter Krause, Michael C.Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, Freddy Rodriguez, Mathew St. Patrick, Justina Machado, Jeremy Sisto and James Cromwell

Best series finale: “Breaking Bad”

TELEVISION PRE-EMPTIONS

Since many of your favorite shows are being pre-empted because of the Winter Olympics, this is your chance to binge watch and catch up on something new.

If you’re not watching “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” on FX, do so.

The last three episodes dealt with Andrew Cunanan’s first three victims and those were even more powerful than the earlier ones dealing with Versace.

Miglin

Judith Light was incredible as the grieving Marilyn Miglin.

Also, the two episodes dealing with Cunanan’s first murders — his old friend Jeffrey Trail and his boyfriend David Madson were sexy and disturbing!

Darren Criss is amazing as Cunanan.

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And, there’s “The Alienist”, also on TNT — creepy and powerful!

THEY SAID WHAT?

George Barbara

Former First Lady Barbara Bush — 1990 — Wellesley College commencement speech:

“Somewhere out in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the president’s spouse.  I wish him well!”

President Obama

Comedian Chris Rock (on President Barack Obama five years into his presidency – after the eight years of George W. Bush): “I think he’s done well – but it’s like, I don’t know who Tina Turner’s second husband was, but he was better than Ike.  Right?  Maybe he had faults, maybe he lost his job or whatever, but he was better than Ike.”

RuPaul

RuPaul (on Donald Trump): “it’s not that the openness and forward thinking has diminished – actually, the forward thinking is bigger than ever.  It’s that the other side feels more threatened than ever before, so they’ve rallied around this fool and this concept of trying to turn the clock back, which has never worked.  It feels like the stakes are higher for both sides.”

“VICTORIA & ABDUL”

If you love Netflix’s “The Crown” and are going through withdrawals waiting for the third season, check out this gem.

It’s the story of Queen Victoria (Judi Dench), ruler of England and Ireland from 1837 until her death in 1876, and her Indian Muslim servant, Abdul (Ali Fazal).

The movie is a dramedy and it’ll make you laugh and cry.  The bond between the aging queen and the charming, attractive young Indian man is touching.

GRADE: A-

“EASTSIDERS”

I’ve written about this LGBT series before.  It was nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards in 2016.

The third season is now on Netflix and it was the best season yet.  It spends a lot of time on relationships and how much work goes into them.

One interesting plot line featured real life porn star Colby Keller, who was a Donald Trump supporter in the last presidential election.

I was curious how this would go over in a gay series.

Eastsiders

In this particular scene, Cal (show creator, writer, director, and star Kit Williamson) and Thom (the beautiful Van Hansis) pick up Keller’s drifter character for a threesome and are discussing “Thelma & Louise”.

It’s basically, “I’m the Thelma… Geena Davis.  I loved ‘A League of Their Own’.  So that means you’re the Louise, Susan Sarandon, right?”

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“I did love ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ as a kid, but I voted for Hillary Clinton.”

Hillary Laughing

So, that’s how it was handled in the series. 🙂

Warning:  Trailer contains adult subject matter and language!

GRADE (season three): A-

“THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER”

This is a very bizarre movie starring my “girl crush” Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell.  Both are incredible.

However, the supernatural-psychological drama makes you feel very awkward and uneasy from the beginning all the way to the end.

The standout, other than Kidman and Farrell, is Irish actor Barry Keoghan (“Dunkirk”), who plays psycho well!

While I’m glad I watched it, I’ll never have to see it again.

GRADE: B

PICK HIT

For singles this weekend after Valentine’s Day, we should just buy some half-price boxes of chocolate, have some champagne or wine, and go out with the girls.

As Kesha says in her latest Top 40 hit, “Woman”, the follow-up to the Grammy-nominated, “Praying”,“I buy my own things/ I pay my own bills” and “I don’t need a man to be holding me too tight.”

Warning:  Language!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 2, 2018

In life, we’re lucky if we’re blessed with good health, prosperity, happiness, and love.

As we go through “real life”, some or all of those things are taken away.

In my random thoughts today, I honor my one true unconditional love — the one that brought me so much joy and happiness.

STILL MISS MY SWEET GIRL

This week marks six years now that my golden retriever, Miss ABBA, crossed over the rainbow bridge.  She was a few months shy of turning 12.

We traveled down many roads together.  From the llama farm in Ohio where she was born to swimming in Lake Michigan when we lived in Chicago to the salty waters of the Atlantic Ocean on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and then back to the cold, snowy Midwestern winters in the Quad Cities, Miss ABBA loved it all and she loved life!

This is her contribution to storm clean up after a derecho (a fast-moving, widespread, intense line of wind) moved through Iowa and Illinois in 2008.  In Moline, Illinois, 94 mph winds brought destruction and power outages for days.

ABBADerecho1

This is Miss ABBA enjoying her last snow just days before that fateful day in 2012.

This was part of a calendar in her memory — “Miss ABBA’s 12 Christmases”.

ABBA Christmas Card 001

As I was lying on the bed comforting ABBA on those final two days, these words just came to me and I put them on paper.

While I’m not a poet, I still love this — my goodbye to Miss ABBA!

ABBA letter 001

 

The fog hangs in the air shrouding the light, not only in the sky, but in your eyes

You look lost and just want to sleep with me close by your side

 

I listen to you breathe and each breath sounds deeper

Is it the end or just a peaceful sleep

 

As I caress your neck and shoulder blades,

You snore even louder as I try harder to hold back the tears

 

I don’t want you to hear me cry,

I want you to let go and not fight for me

 

You’ve been there for me all your life

And I want to be there for you now, my love.

 

My best friend — ABBA (May 22, 2000-February 3, 2012)

This is one of my favorite pictures taken of Miss ABBA in her last month with us…

ABBAFashionShowJan2012

… and this one was one of the funniest back in the day! 🙂

ABBAJuly2010

Reading that poem brought tears to my eyes again, but seeing this goofy picture is making me smile. 🙂

Miss ABBA, thank you for the memories!

ALSO, MR. PANDA

Mr. Panda, our blind shar-pei buddy that we housed for periods of times over the past years, crossed the “Rainbow Bridge” one year ago this week, too.

ABBAPanda

The beautiful and strong little guy was almost 14!

As you may recall, he lived in Chicago, was a rescue, and lost his eyesight many years ago to glaucoma. Even though he spent the last half of his life sightless, he was still a happy, loving, crazy little critter!

WINTER OLYMPICS — GO GUS!!!!!!

Okay, if that last picture of Miss ABBA didn’t make you smile, this might.

This month, when our athletes go to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, we should all support them.

I’m totally “behind” 26-year-old British born-American silver medalist (2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi) freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy! 🙂

snowy gus

Now, who’s complaining about winter and snow??? 🙂

I hope he wins more medals this year.  Even if he doesn’t, he flies the rainbow flag proudly for the LGBT community!

Okay, can you tell I’m crushing on him? It’s all innocent because he has a boyfriend — actor Matt Wilkas (“Gayby”) !

Gus Matt

THIS MAKES ME SMILE, TOO!

The new country-tinged dance hit, “Dancing”, from Kylie Minogue came out Wednesday and I can’t stop watching it!

She looks so glamorous in her sequins!

The new album, “Golden” arrives April 6, 2018!

REMEMBERING KAREN CARPENTER

It was 35 years ago this weekend that superstar Karen Carpenter died of heart failure brought on from years of battling the eating disorder, anorexia nervosa.

It was a sad day and it still is because I idolized The Carpenters as a kid and I still love their music.

karen carpenterpeople

While eating disorders mainly affect girls and women, I’ve been very open and vocal about my battle with bulimia.

With all the images we see in the entertainment world of size zero women and men with their washboard abs, we need to be honest that those are unrealistic goals for most people.

Karen

On the Billboard Hot 100, The Carpenters scored 20 hits with 11 of them reaching the Top 5, including three #1s:  “(They Long To Be) Close To You” (1970, four weeks), “Top of the World” (1973, two weeks), and “Please Mr. Postman” (1975).

However, Karen and Richard were even bigger on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts.  They scored 32 hits.  Of those, 15 topped the charts and three more reached #2!

In honor of The Carpenters, I’m sharing my five favorite songs.

#5 “RAINY DAYS & MONDAYS”

#4 “WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN”

#3 CD

#2 “MERRY CHRISTMAS, DARLING”

#1 CD

top of the world

“THE ALIENIST”

You know I love “The X-Files”.  However, “The Alienist” is not about those “aliens”.

An “alienist” is someone who works with those with mental illness, those that have been “alienated” from society.

Caleb Carr’s book, “The Alienist”, came out in 1994 and I’ve owned the book for many years, yet I haven’t read it.

Now it’s an 10-episode TNT series that debuted last week and the production values are first rate.  TNT is spent a reported $5 million on each episode — that’s as much as some movies.  And, trust me, each episode looks like a mini-movie.

After seeing the first two episodes, let me say that it’s an incredibly acted series, but definitely not for the faint-hearted.

“The Alienist” is a psychological thriller.  It’s 1896 in New York City and a serial killer is on the loose.  The victims are boy prostitutes, some dressed as girls.

Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Bruhl), a criminal psychologist, John Moore (Luke Evans), a newspaper artist, and Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning), a secretary at the police headquarters under newly appointed police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt, are investigating the gruesome murders since “criminal psychology” isn’t a thing yet.

GRADE:  A

OTHER PHENOMENAL RECOMMENDATIONS FROM “THE ALIENIST” DIRECTOR

“The Alienist” is directed by sexy Belgian Jakob Verbruggen.

Jakob

He’s also directed three of my favorite shows:  “The Fall” (with Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan),  “House of Cards”, and “London Spy” (with Ben Whishaw).

If you’ve never seen the fantastic and creepy “The Fall” (three seasons — 17 episodes)…

or the incredible and heartbreaking “London Spy” (5 episodes), do so now!

“THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE:  AMERICAN CRIME STORY”

If you’re not watching this, start!

I’m beginning my thoughts with Wednesday night’s stunning third episode and working backwards.

The most recent episode was about Chicago real estate developer Lee Miglin’s murder, Andrew Cunanan’s third victim.

Judith Light plays Miglin’s wife, Marilyn, the owner of a cosmetics and perfume company and a star on the Home Shopping Network.

Miglin

When Emmy nominations are announced later this year, I can see Light getting a nomination along with Darren Criss (more on him later).

Lee Miglin was played by Mike Farrell of television’s “M*A*S*H” fame!

After I watched this episode, I didn’t even delete it because it was so powerful that I might watch it again!!!

EPISODE THREE GRADE:  A+

The latest FX series from Ryan Murphy, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” is now three episodes into its nine-episode run.

It focuses on the murder of fashion designer Versace, how his family reacted to the senseless killing, and the manhunt for the shooter.

However, it drives home how homophobia in the police investigation let Andrew Cunanan’s killing spree go on long enough for Versace to become the most famous victim. After all, it was mostly just “gay people” being killed!

sarcasm

“Glee” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” star Darren Criss is incredible as Cunanan.  This role is giving him a great opportunity to go the dark side!

GRADE:  B+

INTERESTING TIDBITS

The Versace family is calling the series “a work of fiction”.

Yet, Ryan Murphy and FX are standing behind its accuracy and the validity of Maureen Orth’s 1999 book, “Vulgar Favors:  Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History”, which it’s based.  The Versace family was against the book, too, when it came out.

In Italy, where the Versace family lives, the series is so popular, its ratings are higher than “Game of Thrones”!

RYAN MURPHY ON THE SHOW’S TIMING

Fox's 62nd Annual Emmy Award Nominees Celebration

Ryan Murphy tells “Entertainment Weekly” that after the 2016 presidential election, there couldn’t be a better time for this series to air.

Murphy:  “I think it’s the perfect timing based on this president we have.  I felt there was so much progress in terms of gay rights and rights for any marginalized groups of people [under Obama] .  Suddenly it felt like Trump is inaugurated and the door closed and there’s fear again and they’re trying to take away everything we fought for.  This a bracing cold slap against the policies that the current government has.”

#Resistance

ANTHONY AS CUNANAN — BY ACCIDENT

I had my own small brush with Cunanan notoriety working as the weekend news anchor in Lubbock, Texas, in 1997.

The search for Cunanan was one of the biggest stories that summer.

Without thinking about it, the newscast was produced with me reading the story of Miami’s search for the suspected spree killer since I had a phone interview with a friend that lived in the city.

Cunanan

We used an “OTS” (over the shoulder) of Cunanan and then we started getting phone calls about the eerie similarities.  See for yourself! 🙂

“IT”

While I never saw the original television version of “It” with Tim Curry, I finally got around to seeing 2017’s movie version that’s made $700 million worldwide!

It was enjoyable and creepy.

While I expected the paper sailboat scene to end badly, how it went down surprised me and set the mood for the movie.

On a lighter note, the cussing teenagers and all the New Kids on the Block references cracked me up!

GRADE: B+

A sequel “It: Chapter Two” is scheduled to hit theaters in September 2019!

ALTERNATIVE “IT”

And, for a scarier (humorous) look at “It” and “Kellywise”.

snl kellyanne

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

We All Deserve An Elio Moment

While my thoughts today are inspired by the Oscar-nominated motion picture, “Call Me By Your Name”, it’s not a review of the movie.

About that, I’ve written that the movie “is stunning, sensual, and heartbreaking” and 22-year-old Best Actor nominee Timothee Chalamet “deserves the Oscar nomination and I could definitely see him as a front-runner”.

CMBYN 2

In “Call Me By Your Name”, it’s 1983 in northern Italy and Elio’s summer takes a tender turn when the 17-year-old meets and falls in love with a visiting 24-year-old American graduate student, Oliver, who’s there for six weeks working with his father.

It’s a friendship and romance that’s both approved and encouraged by Elio’s loving parents.  Remember, this is Italy and the ages the story presents are more acceptable in Europe than it would be here in the United States — in the 1980s or today!

CMBYN 4

I’ve always been an out gay man even when it wasn’t popular as a high school and college student in small town Kentucky in Ronald Reagan’s conservative, “Christian Right” America.

Anthony1982

For teenagers today, it’s much different than it was in the early-1980s navigating between being gay and living an open honest life when America and the world didn’t want us to be out of the closet.

My mother knew I was gay, but she still couldn’t always hide her concern with how life would be for me or with some of my decision making.

I remember one summer weekend before I started my sophomore year of college.  We lived about 25 miles from my university and an older college student, who lived near campus, invited me there for the night.   My mother was more concerned that I was spending the night with a guy than the fact that I might be taking part in underage drinking.

That first year of college living away from the watchful eyes of my parents was exciting for me as a teenager.

Decades later, I still fondly remember the butterflies I felt staring across the college dorm television room and locking eyes with the mustachioed student that came over and started talking to me.  And, still vivid are the memories of meeting and spending the night with the divorced dad in my neighborhood that was ten years older than me when I was 19.

Those three encounters happened in a one-year time span.

While I’ve gone on to fulfilling and loving relationships in my adult life, they could never compete with the excitement and the loss of innocence for a naive kid experiencing the physical sensations of becoming a young man.

CMBYN 3

Watching innocent teenager Elio in “Call Me By Your Name”, in 2018, brought back the rush I felt on those exciting nights in 1983 and 1984.  Now, as an older man, I felt a sense of happiness that those nights were definitely worth it.

Luckily, for all of us, things are changing.

In the age of social media, which pretty much covers the last decade of my career as a television meteorologist, and with my personal blog, my “private” life is played out in public.

That’s given me a forum to educate people on what it’s like to be part of the LGBT community.   It shows people that we’re just like them — we work, we pay taxes, we cook dinner, we watch Netflix and movies, and so on.

It’s been very rewarding having mothers, grandmothers, and aunts reach out to me about how to handle their child or loved one’s “coming out” or being gay.

It’s better now because of the resources available online and in person for LGBT youth (and adults) questioning their sexuality or for parents and friends needing answers with PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

pflag_header

While acceptance is higher these days, there’s also the backlash that comes with that increased visibility.

The same freedom, strides, and public acceptance that LGBT people fought for and earned (some with their lives) are being stripped away with that hateful man sitting in the White House.

The venom Donald Trump spouted in the 2016 presidential campaign and in his first year in office has given some of his followers, that already had poisoned minds, the power to openly attack (verbally and physically) others based on their sexuality (real or perceived), race, religion, gender, and the list goes on.

Sadly, our transgender friends are the ones feeling the brunt of that hate.

I know that most of the people that read what I write access it through Facebook.  And, according the site’s analytics, 72% of my Facebook followers are women and the ones that correspond and comment the most are straight.

While I want this to touch them, I really hope that this moves beyond my usual circle of readers because they are the ones that need to see it more.  We all know someone that is LGBT and it’s likely that some of them may be questioning their life and future.

In today’s political climate, this is the perfect time for “Call Me By Your Name”.

CM poster

I hope that any scared, alone, or questioning teenager or adult from any small town in America — whether it’s the backwoods of Alabama and Mississippi, the “Bible Belt” South, the wilderness of the Mountainous West, or the barren tundra of Alaska — can see “Call Me By Your Name” and know that it’s okay to have their own Elio moment, they’re not sick, and they deserve to find love and happiness!

cmbyn-1

Anthony

P.S.  Now that you finished my thoughts, I’m sharing the Oscar-nominated song from “Call Me By Your Name”, “Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens.

Also, here are three inspiring songs that got me through those days and nights in the 1980s.

“Never Surrender” — Corey Hart

“People are People” — Depeche Mode

“I Want Your Sex” — George Michael  (Even in this risque song, George was singing about wanting to be “out and proud”!)

“There’s things that you guess/And things that you know/
There’s boys you can trust/And girls that you don’t/
There’s little things you hide/And little things that you show”