Posts Tagged ‘The Normal Heart’

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.  He gained fame in 1969 penning the Oscar-nominated film “Women in Love”.  His fortune came four years later on the flop, “Lost Horizon”.

But, that film and the money 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 Kock) 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

My Ten Favorite Movies of 2014

Yesterday, I started counting down my twenty favorite movies that I saw in 2014.

In case you missed it, click here to see what movies were ranked #20 to #11.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/my-20-favorites-movies-of-2014/

2014

Now, my ten favorites of 2014.

10

“WALK OF SHAME”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $59,209

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $59,209

*Yes, that is 59-thousand dollars and not millions!  I’m not sure what Focus World, the movie’s distributor, was thinking.  Yes, critics hated it.  But, I laughed my butt off each time I’ve watched it!

9 CD

“BLUE JASMINE”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $33.4 MILLION

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $97.5 MILLION 

 

8 red

 

“AUGUST:  OSAGE COUNTY”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $37.7 MILLION

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $74.2 MILLION 

 

#7 CD

 

“THE SKELETON TWINS”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $5.3 MILLION

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $5.3 MILLION 

#6 CD

“PHILOMENA”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $37.7 MILLION

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $100.1 MILLION 

GREEN 5

“MY STRAIGHT SON”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  —

red-number-4

“GONE GIRL”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $165.4 MILLION

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $349.5 MILLION 

green 3

“THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $54.2 MILLION

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $88.9 MILLION 

#2 CD

“THE NORMAL HEART”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  —

Before we get to my favorite movie of 2014, I want to thank you for checking out my countdowns.

2014

As a follower of my blog, you know I love sharing my thoughts and I love lists and countdowns.

One more bonus before the big reveal for this year.  A flashback to a year ago and my favorite movie that I saw in 2013.

OUT-IN-THE-DARK-Poster

Now it’s time for my favorite movie of this year.  It’s actually a documentary and it’s a sad and heartbreaking true story of love that ends in tragedy and how hate in this country made a time of immense sadness even more painful.

If you haven’t seen this yet, stop what you’re doing and rent this now and also give the one you love a big hug and kiss.

1

“BRIDEGROOM”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  —

NETFLIX POSTER

Shane, through the pain and sadness of the past few years, I hope you’re finally finding some peace.  Hold on to the happy and loving times you and Tom had together.

Thank you for checking out my ten favorite movies.  Which ones have you seen?  Did you like them, love them, or hate them?  And, which ones on my list do you want to check out now?

Gag Me

Before I close out, I want to share my four least favorite movies I saw in 2014.

The worst was definitely “Lady Peacock”.  Most of you haven’t heard of it and just leave it at that.

Also, on the list, the Oscar and Golden Glove-nominated, “All is Lost” with Robert Redford.

The final two stinkers were “The Family” with Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer and “Percy Jackson:  Sea of Monsters” (sorry Gretel!)

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 6, 2014

Greetings from Las Vegas!

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I didn’t post a “Random Friday Thoughts” last week while I was in Vegas.  Trust me that most of it was written, but I was so wrapped up in shows, eating, drinking, and playing slot machines that I didn’t finish it.  So, here goes…

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

THE “KING OF POP” LIVES 

Just hours after we arrived in Vegas last Wednesday, we had dinner and were off to our first show.

Originally, we were just going to see Shania Twain and Olivia Newton-John.   However, we got a great deal to see two Cirque du Soleil shows.

MJ One

First up was “Michael Jackson ONE” at Mandalay Bay.

This show was amazing.  The music, the theatrics, and the energy were incredible.

“ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE”

On Thursday night, it was “The Beatles LOVE” at the Mirage.

Somehow we lucked out and had second row seats to this sold out show and we just bought them last week!

Like the Cirque du Soleil “Michael Jackson ONE” show, the sets, scenery, and the mind-blowing theatrics were breath-taking.

Even if you’re not a true Michael Jackson or the Beatles fan, you still get caught up in the music and the show.

VEGAS FOOD

As you know, every thing in Vegas is about excess.  Buffets are no exception.

The first night we ate at the Carnival World Buffet at Rio.  The service was great, but there was nothing really spectacular about it.  It was average.

However, for lunch Thursday, we ate at the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas.  And, just like our first visit there, it was incredible.  This is one of my absolute favorites.

Spice Market Buffet Desserts

Viena, our server, was so warm and attentive.  She’s definitely a great asset to the establishment!

On Friday, we lunched at the Paris Le Village and it was tasty.

And, on Saturday, we had our typical weekend brunch at the Stratosphere.  We’ve eaten there all three times we’ve visited Vegas and our server remembers us each time and she always picks up where we left off the last time!

AP Saturday Brunch Stratosphere

Yes, we did eat buffets over the four days we were there (along with unlimited cocktails and mimosas).  However, each day, that was our only meal of the day and we walked a total of 58.4 miles while in Vegas.

With that being said, we gained no weight while there!

After a few non-Vegas random thoughts, I have some pictures and comments about the Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain concerts, too.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Look Married

EMMY AWARDS, EXPAND YOUR HORIZIONS

Over the past few years, the Primetime Emmy Awards have been given kudos for looking outside the box and nominating and awarding newer shows and performances.

However, outside of technical achievement, actors from one show keep getting overlooked.

The_Walking_Dead_TV_Series-285470099-large

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” has been nominated for six Primetime Emmy Awards and has won two of them.  However, all of the nominations are in the Prosthetic Makeup, Sound, and Special Visual Effects categories and not for acting.

the-walking-dead-season-4-emmy-ad

AMC is reaching out with its “For Your Consideration” campaign, especially for Melissa McBride’s heart-breaking portrayal of Carol in season four.

Nominations for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced on July 10th and the Emmys will be handed out August 25th.

WEDDING BLUES

Two of the most overrated celebrities were married late last month weekend in Italy.

kim-kardashian-kanye-west-wedding

From the following wedding announcement, I don’t think that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian should expect a wedding gift from the New York Post!

New York Post

“THE NORMAL HEART”

The film version of AIDS activist Larry Kramer’s 1985’s play debuted this Memorial Day holiday weekend to solid numbers.

The Normal Heart HBO

The Ryan Murphy (“American Horror Story” and “Glee) produced drama stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Jim Parsons, and Taylor Kitsch.

“The Hollywood Reporter” writes “As it stands, “The Normal Heart” premiere ranks fifth in viewership among the 17 HBO Films originals to premiere since 2010. Expect a significant boost once time-shifting and HBO Go views are taken into account.”

Since I don’t have HBO, I can’t wait for “The Normal Heart” to come out on DVD.

BIEBS HAS A HEART

Canadian pop star Justin Bieber has had his fair share of bad publicity over the past year, including the “racist” joke/song he told a few years ago that has just surfaced.

However, what he did something recently that is setting him back more than one-half of million dollars and that’s a good thing.

amfAR's 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala, Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI: Red Carpet Arrivals

At an amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) celebrity gala fundraiser in Cannes, when a wealthy gentleman pledged $545,000, Bieber quietly match the bid!  He said he just wanted to do something good.

amfAR is dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and more.

PICK HIT

Latin heartthrob Enrique Iglesias extends his lead over Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan for the most number one singles on the Billboard Latin chart.

enrique_iglesias

“Bailando”, with Descemer Bueno and Gente de Zona, the latest single from “Sex and Love”, becomes his 26th chart topper.  Martin has 13 and Estefan has 11.

The song is now gaining airplay at Top 40 radio stations.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY

With temperatures near 100°, it’s only right that we enjoy “Summer Nights” in Las Vegas at the Flamingo with Olivia Newton John in concert.

Olivia 2

Last Friday night, Olivia looked stunning and her voice was so crisp and beautiful.

She was also very personable and funny.  At one point, she told the audience, “I know you probably know the song and want to sing along.  Don’t.  It’ll mess us up”.  That was followed by a cute laugh.

I’ve been a huge fan since “Let Me Be There” blasted from my hometown country radio station, WNGO-AM 1320, in Mayfield, Kentucky, in 1973.

That song went on to reach #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, #7 on the Billboard Country chart, and it won Olivia a Grammy Award for “Best Female Country Vocalist”.

When I bought tickets for this show back in February, I blogged being hopelessly devoted to Olivia.  Here’s the link if you missed it or want to read it again.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/im-still-hopelessly-devoted-to-olivia/

Whether it’s the policy of The Flamingo or something written in Olivia’s contract, but no photos were allowed.  I can fully understand prohibiting recording the performance, but no photos.  Really?

I complied until the end of the show!

Olivia

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY” (PART TWO)

Here’s a double dose of country and Vegas.

Our final show in our Vegas trip was Shania Twain and her show, “Shania:  Still The One” at Caesars Palace.

Shania Still The One

Shania was amazing and she allowed those in the audience to take selfies with her, including me.  (I really need to work on my selfie picture-taking skills.  I got one, but it wasn’t perfect).

The bottom line is that she was amazing and the show was true Vegas.

Shania

However, there was a scary moment with one of the horses on stage that Shania was riding.  But, the horse and Shania were both okay and the show, as they say, went on.

Back in February, I blogged about Shania and why I loved her as a singer and entertainer.  And, after reading her book, “From This Moment On”, I blogged about it just a couple of days ago.  It is fantastic.

Here’s that link:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/shania-is-iconic-but-i-feel-i-know-eilleen-more/

And, here’s the one from back in February.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/after-20-years-shanias-still-the-one/

That’s “Ka-Ching!” form Shania’s “Up” album.  The song reached #2 in Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Switzerland, and #3 in Germany.

THAT’S IT

I have one more whirlwind weekend before I can enjoy a chill out weekend at home.  After work today, Ray and I are heading off to Milwaukee to see the “Dressed to Kill Tour” with Cher and Cyndi Lauper.

Then it’s back to the Quad Cities Saturday for me to judge a Bacon festival that evening.

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

Anthony

 

Good News About AIDS Deaths & “The Normal Heart”

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

STOP AIDS

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

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

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

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

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

“THE NORMAL HEART”

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

Larry Kramer

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

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

The Normal Heart HBO

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

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

It premiers on HBO on May 25, 2014.

Anthony

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

Random Friday Thoughts — March 21, 2014

Well, according to the calendar and astronomy, winter is over and spring is here.

After six straight months (since October 2013) of below average temperatures in the Quad Cities and more than 64″ of snow, I’m ready to work in the yard and mow it and plant a garden.

I hope you have a great weekend.  Here are my random thoughts for this week.

FRED PHELPS IS DEAD

The founder and leader of the cult group, Westboro Baptist Church, in Topeka, Kansas, died Thursday at the age of 84.

While I will not happily dance around or protest his funeral, I’m not saddened by his passing.  And, that is a little sad.

fred-phelps

The man and his family, for years, have protested the funerals of soldiers and celebrities with their signs telling us everything that God hates, mostly gay people.  However, the group doesn’t choose words as gentle as “gay”.

If you took these protests at face value, you’d come to the conclusion that his God is not a very happy God since he hates so much.   All I know is that his God is not my God!

And, is this really what you want the children of the future to grow up thinking?

WBC Kids

I feel for Phelps’ family that are mourning his death.  However, with Fred gone, there’s a little more love in the world today and a little less hate.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Wet My PlantsPlaneEffective

GREAT NEWS ABOUT AIDS

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

STOP AIDS

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

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

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

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

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

“THE NORMAL HEART”

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

Larry Kramer

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

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

The Normal Heart HBO

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

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

It premiers on HBO on May 25, 2014.

PICK HIT — DOUBLE FEATURE

It’s time now to lighten the mood just a bit and to steam up the windows now that it’s spring.

I just bought the new CDs from Kylie Minogue “Kiss Me Once” (amazing and fun) and Enrique Iglesias ” SEX+LOVE” (still need to listen to it).

Kiss Me OnceEnrique SEX AND LOVE

The beautiful singers even have a duet together, “Beautiful”, which is featured on both albums.

While Kylie’s current single is the incredible “Into The Blue” and Enrique’s current hit is “I’m A Freak” featuring Pitbull, I’m featuring two versions of a new release from Kylie called “Sexercize”.

If you like looking at sexy women, the first video is for you.  If you like gorgeous and hot men, the second is the one you should check out.

And, of course, we can’t leave Enrique out.

Something tells me that Kylie and Enrique are obsessed with sexy people and I’m okay with that!

“CYNDI LAUPER:  A MEMOIR”

I just finished reading Cyndi Lauper’s memoir and it was incredible to learn more about talented and zany singer that has been entertaining us for thirty years.

Cyndi Lauper A Memoir

She talks about music, videos, love, her commitment to the LGBT community, Cher, Madonna, and much more in the book.

From my Wednesday blog about the book, “She had a rough childhood with a creepy stepfather, school problems, keeping a job, losing a baby, sexual assault by former band members, and several health issues.”

If you’d like to read the entire blog about Cyndi and her book and to relive some of the classic videos, here’s the link:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/cyndi-lauper-is-unusual-but-most-of-all-shes-an-ally/

If not, enjoy this #3 hit from 1987, “Change of Heart”, from her second album, “True Colors”.

“CRISIS”

NBC’s newest drama, “Crisis” debuted last Sunday night with a “soft” opening with 6.5 million viewers.

“Entertainment Weekly” gave the show a grade of C+ and I definitely think the first episode was better than that.

Crisis

A group of elite teenagers of very powerful players in Washington D.C., including the President’s son, are ambushed and taken hostage.  We don’t know why or how this will play out over the 13 episode season.

But, I’m excited that I get another hour of television that features my favorite female crush, Gillian Anderson.

Crisis - Season Pilot

Her recurring role as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier on “Hannibal” (NBC, 9 p.m. Central) is not enough for me.

“Crisis” airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. Central on NBC.

“ALL IS LOST”

I just saw the latest Robert Redford movie, “All Is Lost”.

All Is Lost

While there was Oscar buzz and his performance was commanding for a one-man show, there wasn’t much else in the movie.

We never learned who he was, why he was out in the Indian Ocean, and why we should really care if he lived or died other than because he was a living person.

All I lost with this movie is the 106 minutes that I’ll never get back.

GRADE:  D

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Today in this feature, I’m showcasing two artists that I’ve already seen in concert, but they’re heading back out for the “The Grits and Glamour Tour”.

Grits Glamour Tour

I met Pam in Bettendorf, Iowa, in November 2012, and she was a sweetheart.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This past December, we saw Lorrie’s Christmas show at Opryland Hotel.  She was so beautiful.

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Both women still sound amazing and it’ll be fun seeing them together.

Pam has had 22 hits on the Billboard Country charts with 13 of them making it to the Top Ten.  Of those, ten scaled the Top Five.

Her only #1 hit was 1995’s “Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)”.

“Shake The Sugar Tree” is one of my favorite Pam Tillis songs.  It peaked at #3 in early 1992.

Lorrie has scored 25 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country charts.  Of those, 14 have reached the Top Ten, and 11 made the Top Five.

She’s topped the charts three times: “Five Minutes” (1990), “What Part of No” (3 weeks at #1, 1993), and “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” (1995).

One of my favorite Lorrie songs failed to reach the Top Ten.  Sadly, “Something In Red” stalled at #14 in 1992.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my blog this week.

Happy Spring everyone!  I hope you have a fantastic weekend.

Anthony

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!

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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!

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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