Emails procured through Pennsylvania’s “Right To Know” law confirm that South Williamsport Jr/Sr High School cancelled a production of Monty Python’s Spamalot because it included a same-sex wedding, reports Think Progress.r
The uncovered emails show that despite the school’s attempt to claim otherwise, the only justification for the cancellation given by Principal Jesse Smith was the play’s “homosexual themes.”r
Records also prove that contrary to claims made by school district Superintendent Mark Stamm that the musical had not actually been canceled because it was only “under consideration,” Principal Smith had already signed a check for nearly $2,000 to order the licensing rights for the play last May.r
In emails sent last June, Smith said that he was concerned about “a gay wedding being performed.” Musical director Dawn Burch replied, “I am fully aware of their place in the script and am not certain what offense they create,” noting that marriage equality had recently arrived in Pennsylvania.r
Smith then explained that he was “not comfortable with Spamalot and its homosexual themes” because “this type of material [would make] it very hard” for families to attend. He added that he did not “want students to have to choose between their own personal beliefs and whether or not to take part in a production.”r
When Burch wrote to Stamm that she found it “extremely disappointing that homosexuality would be the basis of not approving a show,” noting that “this is how we raise children to be haters,” the superintendent replied that he was familiar with Smith’s objections and stood by them.r
Last year, a high school in Ottumwa, Iowa said that students could not perform The Laramie Project, Moisés Kaufman's play about the hate crime murder of gay Wyoming teen Matthew Shepard, because it is "too adult."r
Watch South Williamsport Area School Board President John Engel, Jr., address a July 3 press conference on the controversy over the cancellation of the play, AFTER THE JUMP...rr
Back with Warner Brothers, the music legend announces two new albums.
Check out the creepy new AHS teaser (if you can stomach it)
Also: Nathan & Matthew back together on Broadway
And with that, True Blood's seventh and final season has come to an end. Who lived? Who died? Who suddenly became a lesbian cage fighter?
Sink your fangs into our recap, and share your thoughts on the series finale, AFTER THE JUMP ...rWe pick up right where we left off last week, with Bill (Stephen Moyer) darkening the doorstep of Sookie (Anna Paquin). He gives her the rundown on why he thinks it’s a super swell idea for him to not take the cure. She deserves a normal life and she can’t have that while he’s still around. Sookie, however, ain’t buying it. He wants to die just because she has low self-esteem? Not a great pitch.r
But that’s not all! Not only does he want to die, he wants her to kill him! And not just kill him, but to use her Mortal Kombat “Finish Him” special move, and kill him with her magic faerie light ball, rendering her human. Sookie has hopped around half the laps in Bon Temps, mated with most of the encyclopedia of supernaturals, put almost all of her loved ones in nearly daily peril, but this actually might be the most selfish thing to ever happen on this show. Sookie takes it under advisement.r
Across the cemetery, at Chez Compton, Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and Hoyt (Jim Parrack) have returned. Jessica has a very sweet message for Bill: She’ll be fine. He doesn’t have to worry about her. But Bill’s still on his All About Me World Tour. So, he’s like, “You know what? That’s great that you decided to be the bigger person and come home and try and make me feel better, but you know what would really make me feel better? If you and Hoyt — despite him not remembering you beyond the last few days — just go ahead and get married.”r
Jessica calls Bill into her room so she can be all “Dad! You’re embarrassing me!” But hear him out! He only wants to rush Jessica off to marriage because he missed his daughter’s wedding. In that case, Jessica is totally on board. Let’s do it right now!r
She calls Sookie (who’s seeking council from her brother about the whole kill Bill thing) and asks her if she’s got a white dress she could borrow. While they’re on the phone, Hoyt calls Jason (Ryan Kwanten) to ask him to be his best man.r
Arlene (Carrie Preston), Holly (Lauren Bowles) and Andy (Chris Bauer) also made the guestlist. Once they arrive, Father of the Bride Bill calls Andy into his office. Since Andy is Bill’s last living relative (remember they’re related?), he’ll inherit Bill’s estate. Bill asks Andy to rent his house to Jessica and Hoyt for a dollar a month, (but maybe not even that much sometimes), and Andy agrees, and then we watch them run a credit check and get Hoyt’s references and sign the lease because, oh god, this is boring. Wasn’t there a way to leave Jessica the house without having to dive into Vampire estate law? Did we really need some kind of sloppy, heavy-handed Edie Windsor-ish metaphor?r
And speaking of heavy-handed metaphors! This ceremony! It’s sweet up until Andy, who is officiating, gives a little “even though vampire-human marriages aren’t recognized … “ You guys. We get it. WE GET IT. Regardless, now Hoyt and Jessica are kind-of, sort-of married. Mazel.r
The real interesting thing about the ceremony is that Sookie can hear Bill’s thoughts. That’s odd! Less surprising: He’s just thinking a lot of lovey-dovey things about Sookie.r
In addition to going to her brother for advice (he didn’t have any to offer), Sookie also talked to her pastor and had a vision of Gran. The flashback featured a young Sookie and Tara talking about boys, when Gran interrupts to tell Sookie she can have whatever kind of life she wants. After dropping off Jason with Brigette, she calls Bill to tell him she’s made her decision.r
(By the way, Sookie tells Jason to sleep with Brigette. Brigette turns up for her “ride to the airport” with no luggage and wearing a short skirt, even though she’s supposed to go back to Alaska. Girlfriend knew what she was doing*.)r
Her mind made up, Sookie meets Bill in the graveyard. He climbs in the grave, opens his coffin, and marvels at the old photo of him and his daughter. He lies in the coffin, while Sookie stands over the grave mustering up her faerie ball. At this point, I’m convinced that Bill is actually just becoming human. That’s why Sookie heard his thoughts, and I’m pretty sure I’ve talked myself into believing that his tears over his daughter’s photo were a little more human-like tear than just blood-like tear. Maybe it was Lillith’s blood or Sookie’s, but I was sure Bill was going to be human, Sookie’s vampire-killing faerie ball wasn’t going to work and they would live happily, humanly ever after.r
Once she conjures her glowball, she has an independent woman moment and realizes she doesn’t want to give up who she is for some man, even if that man is a vampire/former god/her true love/whatever. Bill still wants to die, though. Sookie grabs a shovel, cracks it into a stake and climbs into the coffin. She places it over Bill’s heart, he places his hands on hers and drives it in. Goodbye, Bill! You were pretty important!r
Now, what of Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgård)? After giving up Sookie’s address to the Yakuza, Eric has himself a plan. He’s going to release Sarah Newlin (Anna Camp), give her a little of Pam’s blood so they can track her, and set her free out the Underground Railroad tunnel in Fangtasia. Then, once Mr. Gus (Will Yun Lee) goes into the tunnel after her, they send a fireball in after him and that’s the end of that. They kill the Yakuza guards at Fangtasia, and then Eric makes short work of the crew waiting at Sookie’s.r
Pam hunts down Sarah and finds her eating garbage while hiding in a carousel. Sarah tries to win Pam over by offering to become her lesbian vampire sex slave. Pam is smarter than that. She’s smarter than all this. No deal.r
One year later, Pam and Eric are hawking New Blood on an infomercial. Three years after that, they are successful tycoons ringing the (nighttime?) bell at the New York Stock Exchange.r
But don’t think they’re sell-outs. Just because they look like fat cat one-percenters, doesn’t mean they’ve lost all their edge. They’ve still got Fangtasia, and they keep Sarah Newlin in the basement, charging $100,000 for a minute drinking her blood. Pam turned her out just like she promised. Once the room clears, and Sarah is left alone, we see that she’s lost her damn mind and is constantly haunted by the ghost of her ex-husband, Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian).r
Then we get a little epilogue, featuring a Thanksgiving dinner with all our friends. Jason ended up having a mess of kids with, ugh, Brigette. Hoyt and Jess are still together. As are Holly and Andy, Wade (Noah Matthews) and Adilyn (Bailey Noble), Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) and James (Nathan Parsons) and Arlene and her vampire friend. Sam (Sam Trammell) shows up with Nicole (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and their kid. And then there’s Sookie. Pregnant Sookie! Talking to her man! But who is it? Is it Eric? Ghost Alcide? (Don’t put it beyond them.) Nope! It’s just some dude we barely see. A nobody. Probably not a werepanther or nothing.r
I get it. Sookie is about more than the men she sleeps with. #YesAllFaeries, #shewokeuplikethis, etc. It’s a good message (I guess), but when you’ve built seven seasons around the love triangles (and squares and trapezoids and octagons), it’s a little cheap (and lazy) to then be like IT WAS REALLY ABOUT HER FINDING HERSELF without actually, you know, telling a complete story about her finding herself. If you really want to make a show about her journey, then why didn’t we spend more time showing her acting like an empowered woman and less watching her throw herself into the arms of Bill, Eric, Alcide, Sam and Warlow? It’s not very impressive to declare this character isn’t defined by her relationships in the last 10 minutes of a series that was almost exclusively defined by those very relationships.r
And that will be my last formal complaint about True Blood probably ever.r
Farewell, True Blood. I will look back on your first season (and any time Jason Stackhouse was shirtless) fondly.r
What did you think of the finale?r
Now in its 55th year, the Rose of Tralee includes young women of Irish descent from Ireland and around the world.r
In an interview with the Irish Sun, Walsh, who was crowned the new Rose in County Kerry on Saturday night, said:r
"I'm confident in who I am as a person. The Rose of Tralee is about celebrating women's intelligence, careers, their volunteer work. The question of sexuality never came up. To me, being gay is normal. It's natural."r
Walsh is a Boston native who moved to County Mayo with her family 20 years ago. Following her graduation, she moved to New York and later to Philadelphia.r
Last week, reigning Miss Spain Patricia Yurena became the first openly gay national pageant queen.r
Watch an interview with Walsh, AFTER THE JUMP...rr
AFER's Matt Baume reports on Indiana Gov. Mike Pence getting a scolding in court, the first federal judge to rule against Florida's gay marriage ban, a new case in Arizona centering on an elderly couple about to lose their home, couples fighting back against stalling tactics in Arkansas, and the two major oral arguments that are coming up in the next few days at the 7th Circuit.r
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...rr
Fifteen years after screening Russell T Davies’ ground-breaking drama Queer As Folk, Channel 4 has boasted that new series Cucumber - also produced by Davies [pictured right] - is so risqué that it "wouldn't get past an American network".r
Set to be aired next year, Cucumber looks at gay life across different generations and stars Vincent Franklin [above left] as a 46-year old man going through a relationship break-up, and Freddie Fox [above right] as a young object of his desires.r
Cucumber will be broadcast alongside a sister show, Banana and a related web series called Tofu. According to Davies, the titles for the three shows came from a scientific study on the erection:r
"It divided the hard-on into four categories, from soft to hard. One, tofu. Two, peeled banana. Three, banana. And four, cucumber. Right there and then, I knew I had my drama."r
Channel 4’s Head of Drama Piers Wenger said that although the new series is "amazingly warm, incredibly funny and beautifully written", viewers might be "challenged" by the explicit content.r
Named Channel of the Year on Friday at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, Channel 4 recently ran a campaign challenging homophobia in Russia, to coincide with the Sochi Winter Olympics. New projects from the broadcaster include Carol, which examines a lesbian affair between a female department-store assistant and an older married woman; My Million View Sex Change, a project showing young women recording the progress of their gender reassignments; and Gay Love: Sex and Apps, which will follow a young man looking for a partner on apps such as Grindr and Manhunt.r
Watch a deleted scene from the original UK version of Queer As Folk, AFTER THE JUMP...rr
A radio host in Springfield, Missouri says her recent firing from her morning show was not from budget cuts - as her employer claims - but rather because she is openly gay and had recently spoken up about advocating for LGBT rights.r
Springfiled News-Leader reports:r
"It's humiliating, and I am absolutely 100 percent convinced this has to do with my sexuality and my advocacy on behalf of my community," said Jennifer Scott Stevens, who went by Jennifer Scott at 105.1 Bob FM.r
Jason McCuthin, general manager of Springfield-based Mid-West Family Broadcasting Group — which owns four local radio stations — says the termination of Stevens' employment was entirely "a budgetary decision." [...]r
"As someone who attended her marriage reception, it's a little disheartening that she would assume this station didn't support her wholeheartedly," he said.r
"We have other people on staff who have the same lifestyle, and they get the same support she did," McCuthin added.r
The Advocate adds:r
Stevens, who is married to another woman, said her coworkers and supervisors knew she was gay, but it was never an issue at work, since she didn't discuss her sexual orientation on-air or at official events.r
But in June, Stevens was profiled in the News-Leader as part of a weekly series on businesspeople in Southwest Missouri, and she discussed her orientation and her passion for advocacy surrounding LGBT issues. Ironically, Stevens actually pointed to the elevated rate of workplace discrimination faced by LGBT people in her closing remarks in that piece.r
Missouri remains one of the 29 states without employment non-discrimination law covering sexual orientation.r
[photo via Facebook]
10,000 Years of the 1960s.
In 1968, Barbarella saw into a future in which the counter-culture ruled. Paul Baker looks at the outfits, the camp computers, and the glamour.
"Barbarella travels through the Universe in a fur-lined space-ship with only her camp computer to keep her company (either voiced by Kenneth Williams or a KW-impersonator). There is a plot, but it’s not really essential to enjoying the film."
Two testimonies by gay men who grew up reading the X-Men give a taste of the breadth of resonances that the mutants of X-Men have had in real gay lives.
"Their very personal identifications with characters, one male and one very gender-fluid, give just a taste of the breadth of resonances that the mutants of X-Men have had in real gay lives."
Does science fiction have the power to infiltrate the mass consciousness with socially progressive ideas that can ultimately change a person's worldview?
"The allegorical power of the series over the decades has probably done more to shape contemporary culture than placing a range of rather token gay characters ever could, and this alone should justify X-Men’s place within queer history."