Posts Tagged ‘Longtime Companion’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 21, 2016

Ah, the weekend is here again and to kick it off, here are a few of my random thoughts.

I appreciate you checking them out and have fun this weekend!

LESS THAN THREE WEEKS AWAY — THANK GOD!

Regardless of which candidate you support in this year’s presidential election, I’m sure most of us agree that we can’t wait for November 8th to get here so we can vote and put this long, nasty campaign behind us!

The three presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are history and a CNN/ORC poll conducted after each debate shows that Clinton won all three by margins of 35%, 23%, and 13%.

After watching the first two, I decided that I could not and would not subject myself to another ninety minutes of watching an immature and unprepared old man act like a child.

And, did I call that one correctly?  21 seconds into video proves me right!

My summation:  An adult is talking and a spoiled brat without manners interrupts and starts name calling. Said grown adult maintains cool – PRICELESS!

THE DEATH OF A CHILD BEAUTY QUEEN

This Christmas will mark the 20th anniversary of the shocking death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey in her Boulder, Colorado home.

JB.jpg

Two decades later, there have been no arrests, but there’s widespread speculation about who killed her and how and why she was murdered.

I just finished reading “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town” by Lawrence Schiller.

Perfect-Murder-Perfect-Town.jpg

If you want to know more about the investigation instead of just the soundbites you remember from the news two decades ago, this is a well written and well researched book.

Here’s what I took away from the 600-plus pages:  There were many dedicated and thorough detectives working to solve the crime, but the murder investigation (that was called in as a kidnapping) was pretty much botched from the beginning with police failing to secure the crime scene, there was a major disconnect between the Boulder Police and the district attorney’s office and this made each side look like amateurs to the nation and the world, and finally, that unless someone confesses one day, the case will never be solved.

JONBENET’S KILLER

Be careful who you accuse of murdering JonBenet.

jb-b

On October 6, 2016, her brother, Burke Ramsey, who was nine at the time of her death, filed a defamation lawsuit against Dr. Werner Spitz, who accused Burke of killing his little sister.

Burke and his attorneys are seeking a total of $150 million in punitive and compensatory damages. They may also be filing new lawsuits against CBS soon.

Burke, now grown, agreed to an exclusive interview with Dr. Phil to talk about his life and sister’s murder.

Burke-Ramsey-Dr.-Phil-McGraw-Rel.jpg

While Burke, his family, and their friends should be presumed innocent in JonBenet’s death until proven otherwise, one thing that Burke is guilty of is being rather creepy and unnerving in the interview.

You’re talking about the savage murder of your little sister on Christmas Day and you’re sitting there smiling like you’re unstable or medicated.  That’s just an observation.  It was awkward.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?

No one really knows what happened Christmas night 1995 in the Ramsey’s Boulder mansion.  No one, that is, but the killer(s).

But, as I mentioned above, almost everyone following the case then and now, have theories on who killed JonBenet.  After reading Schiller’s book, I feel I know a little more than the average person following the murder.  I definitely know more than I did twenty years ago.

I would love to throw out my theory, but I don’t want to be sued by Burke Ramsey or anyone else…

THIS IS A WORK OF “FICTION”

… so here’s a ripped from the headline, “fictional” treatment that could become a Lifetime movie.*

A family comes home from a Christmas party and before their two children go to bed, one wants a snack.  While the older child is eating from a bowl of fruit, the younger sibling grabs a piece from the bowl and pops it in her mouth and runs off.  The older child grabs a flashlight from the kitchen counter and a foot chase ensues.  The older child strikes his little sister in the head with the flashlight.  This blow is not intended to kill, but to put the younger child in her place.  The parents put the children to bed, but realize that something is wrong when the little girl becomes unresponsive.  At that point, instead of taking the younger child to the hospital or calling 9-1-1, they panic and stage a crime scene to cover up the accidental, unintentional death.

This isn’t far-fetched.  I grew up with a little sister two years younger than me and we definitely had our fair share of arguments and fights growing up.

*The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.

MARCO RUBIO, THANK YOU!

In the past, I’ve blogged about how much former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio scares me because of his LGBT views.

MarcoRubio1

While I still want to keep him at arm’s length, he has come around and spoken out on a couple of issues that Republican politicians and their supporters need to face.

First, Rubio is disputing Donald Trump’s claims that this year’s election is rigged.

Rubio says, “This election is not being rigged.  There is no evidence behind any of this, so this should not continue to be said.”

And, finally, about the WikiLeaks smear campaign against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Rubio says in a statement:

Rubio WikiLeaks.jpg

Here’s what I had to say about Rubio in a blog earlier this year when he was still a contender in the Republican race for the White House.

Why We Should Fear Marco Rubio

RUBIO ISN’T ALONE

Former Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Governor John Kasich also disagrees with Trump in thinking the election is rigged.

Kasich says, “Look, to say that elections are rigged and all these votes are stolen — that’s like saying we never landed on the moon, frankly. That’s how silly it is.”

MAYBE WE SHOULD ASK HEATHER MOONEY HER THOUGHTS!

HeatherMooney

“THE WALKING DEAD” FINALLY RETURNS

spoiler-alert

“The Walking Dead, one of the best shows on television, returns for its much anticipated seventh season Sunday night.

If you don’t already know by now, this is a mini-spoiler:

When the season six finale ended, baddie Negan and his barbed-wire covered baseball bat, Lucille, bashed to death a major cast member!

Director Greg Nicotero says this episode is “the most emotional episode I’ve ever shot.”

It’s about time to have Rick back again!  (That is, if he’s not killed!) 🙂

HE WASN’T ALREADY “OUT”?

With all the allegations of sexual misconduct by several women against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, I guess anchor Shepard Smith coming out as gay earlier this week is no big deal.

Personally, I thought he already identified publicly as gay!

smith-ailes

It’s almost 2017 and a person’s sexuality should never be what defines them.  Some may even ask, why should we care?  It’s his business.

I think it’s important for people, even at Smith’s age (early-50s), to have role models if they feel they’re living a lie or can’t be themselves by staying in the closet.

Come out, come out!  It’s freeing and it’s liberating.

Congrats Shepard!

THAT P-WORD AGAIN!

My favorite new comedian and satirist Samantha Bee drives home another winning commentary on the Donald Trump and Billy Bush recording!

You know the one that started the debate on kissing and grabbing whatever you want — if you’re a celebrity (or Trump).

Oh no!  You’re going to hear the p-word again and according to Samantha Bee, that word isn’t “presidential”.

This is too funny and I’ve never even heard some of these expressions!

I sure hope Samantha is still as funny after the 2016 presidential election is over in just under three weeks!

MICHAEL BUBLE IS BACK (AND IT’S NOT EVEN CHRISTMAS)

For Michael Buble fans, it’s been a long wait for his ninth studio album (seventh major label release), “Nobody But Me”.

mb

The three-and-a-half year wait is over.

While I enjoyed his early 2013 release, “To Be Loved”, the new album is fantastic!

Michael Buble To Be Loved

My early favorites are “I Believe in You”, “On an Evening in Roma (Sott’er Celo de Roma)”, “Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow”, “God Only Knows”, “Someday” (a duet with Meghan Trainor), and the title track.

Here’s the first release from the album.  While I featured the lyric video some time ago, the “official” video just came out last week.

“WAITING IN THE WINGS — THE MUSICAL”

When it comes to mainstream movies, there are Oscar worthy ones, some great ones, and some that true turkeys (and not the Thanksgiving kind).  You know the ones — the ones that remind you that you’ll never get those two hours of your life back.

It’s even harder to find those gems in the LGBT movie genre because there are fewer of them being made.

My favorites are still “Longtime Companion”, “Latter Days”, “Shelter”, “Make The Yuletide Gay” and “Lilting”, my favorite movie that I saw in 2015.  (Okay, it has nothing to do with my innocent crush on Ben Whishaw!)

Ben-Whishaw

When I saw the trailer for “Waiting in the Wings:  The Musical”, I thought it had potential to be funny.  I also knew that it could easily leave the rails.

The musical is written and directed by Jeffrey A. Johns, who’s also the star.

Johns plays Anthony, a small town Montana man who lives for musicals (and Disney).  He enters an online contest and heads to New York to make his mark on Broadway.

However, there’s a casting mix-up and Tony, a stripper (played by Adam Huss, who was also entertaining in 2010’s “Is It Just Me?”), gets Anthony’s role and naive Anthony has to learn to strip.

The movie also features Lee Meriwether in a touching and supporting role.  Shirley Jones and Sally Struthers also make cameos.

I really fell in love with Rena Strober, who plays Rita, the lead in an Off-Broadway play. She gets to play sweet and catty, but most of all, her voice is incredible.

Yes, you have to suspend disbelief at times, but isn’t that why we watch movies?

My only complaint is that Rebekah Kochan is underutilized.  She was so crass and so much fun in Q. Allan Brocka’s “Eating Out” movies.

GRADE:  B

HE REALLY IS INVINCIBLE — EVEN IN DEATH!

Michael Jackson died more than seven years ago, but he’s still the top earning dead celebrity.

In 2016, his estate earned $825 million!

$750 million of that is from the sale of his half of the Sony/ATV publishing catalogue.  Back in 1985, Jackson paid $47.5 million to buy the original Beatles-packed ATV.

At #2, with $48 million, is “Peanuts” (and Charlie Brown) creator Charles Schulz.

Charlie Brown

Golf legend Arnold Palmer came in third with $40 million.

Elvis Presley ($27 million) and Prince ($25 million) round out the top five.

“NASTY, NASTY, NASTY”

Okay, back in 1986, in my formative party years, we knew all about those “nasty boys” thanks to Janet, Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty.

Now, in 2016, in our increasingly all-inclusive world, we have a “nasty” woman (or maybe a few of them). 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Advertisements

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