Arts & Entertainment

In the Arts & Entertainment section, The Advocate brings readers all the latest news on Hollywood, Broadway, and beyond. From New York to Los Angeles, The Advocate shines a spotlight on the stars of the screen who are lending their voices to support the LGBT community, as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals who are moving the cultural needle. Discover A-list interviews, the best gay movies and reviews of theater, music, books and television. Learn how Arts & Entertainment can shape national dialogue and can work to advance equality.

 Sister acts are nothing new, but when the siblings are as hot as Latina identical twins Nicole and Natalie Albino, people tend to pay attention. And the fact that one of them is a lesbian that makes it all the hotter for LGBT audiences. Headlining the Dinah, an annual lesbian pilgrimage, the women of genre-defying Nina Sky — they devised their band name using the first two syllables of their names ("Ni" and "Na") then added Sky (as in the sky's the limit) — are riding a wave of success this year.

They had a smash hit with "Move Ya Body," which earned them instant global recognition when it hit number 4 on Billboard's Hot 100 Chart, but it certainly wasn't their first duet. "Our first song was called 'Sisters,'" says Nicole. "It was really wholesome and nice. The lyrics went 'Sisters, we're gonna get through life together, and I will not let you go.' Our family was always super supportive of us wanting to be singers, especially our mom. She would bring us to auditions."

Raised in Queens, N.Y., the girls grew up listening to salsa music, their Spanish-speaking mother making traditional Puerto Rican food in the kitchen. "I don't know about all Latin families, but in ours family is very important — we are all very close, family first," recalls Natalie. So close that when one came out as a lesbian, the family rallied behind her.

Growing up, they were also exposed to some wonderful Latin singers who greatly influenced them, Natalie says. "We love La India. Her voice is incomparable to anyone and she's performed everything from salsa to house music."

Their influences may explain why the music of Nina Sky is so hard to define. An eclectic mix of hip-hop, rock, pop, reggae, and R&B, Nina Sky's self-titled debut album for Universal was unprecedented coming from young Puerto Rican twin sisters who were easy on the eyes. A slew of singles and collaborations soon followed.

"The first time we heard 'Move Ya Body' on the radio in 2004, was a 'We made it' moment. We made it to the radio!" Nicole exclaims. "The first time we traveled overseas and saw our faces in magazines gave us the same feeling. All of those things are great milestones in our career, but we're always striving for more." More would soon follow.

In 2010, Nicole became one of the first Latina recording artists to publicly come out as lesbian. She married fashion designer Erin Magee (who made her own news by sporting a tattoo that read "Mrs. Albino" across her chest). Sister Natalie has never talked about her orientation, though both women have been sporting a decidedly more butch style in recent years; gone are the long flowy locks and slinky dresses. And they have been vocal about LGBT rights, performing at Rome's Pride festival and posing for the No H8 campaign, for example.

As musicians and DJs, they've been garnering fans overseas and at home in droves. After a battle with their record label, Polo Grounds, over lack of support, Nina Sky independently released an eight-track EP, The Other Side, direct to fans for digital download last August.

February 16 2012 4:00 AM

 ...Let's Cure AIDS
In the past few years a man was reportedly cured of HIV through a stem cell transplant. Let's Cure AIDS is a foundation established to build on what doctors learned from that patient and raise the money necessary to develop a broadly applicable cure for AIDS. In addition, Let's Cure AIDS is trying to reinvigorate the sense of urgency around developing a cure for the disease — not treatment, a real cure — by hosting regular fund-raising and awareness-raising events with talented performers, artists, and personalities. I am proud to be a part of this organization's team. 

February 15 2012 4:00 AM

Forget about calories — the way to a person's heart is through his or her stomach. Whether you're trying to woo your special someone, or reminding that person that you love him or her, this great meal from Chef Lou Lambert, author of Big Ranch, Big City: Recipes from Lambert's Texas Kitchens should seal the deal. He doesn't love to cook at home since he spends his work days in the kitchen, but Valentine's Day is one of those special occasions where he doesn't mind whipping out the pots and pans for his husband, James.

"[Valentine's Day] is the one day of the year that I can give a little back to James for putting up with being married to a chef for the last 16 years. It’s the one day of the year that he gets breakfast in bed and a spectacular dinner party, but only for the two of us," he says."I always plan the menu around foods with bold flavors using recipes that don’t have to be prepared and finished at the last minute. This dinner is about spending time with my man, not hours in the kitchen."

Like Lambert says, Valentine's Day is the day to show your love and appreciation. Show your significant other that you care with this delicious three-course dinner. You can, um, burn off the calories later.

Get the complete menu and recipes from Chef Lambert on the following pages.

February 14 2012 5:38 PM

Queer dance band Tayisha Busay is one of three LGBT groups to release special Valentine's Day related music videos with its newest creation, "Heartmeat/Lovemuscle."

Band member Brandon Lalavek describes this slow jam is an "homage to our loves past and
present, as well as a defining moment as a band to learn how to breathe and let
a song flow."

The video features Lalavek attempting to
sign the words heartmeat and lovemuscle. This was added to the video after an
active deaf lesbian community in Washington D.C. requested the songs be
translated for a concert.

February 14 2012 3:41 PM

 Nearly two years ago, Army specialist Bradley Manning was arrested and charged with a series of crimes against the U.S. government, including leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks and aiding the enemy. The questions raised by the indefinite detention of a the gay soldier — who has been imprisoned in torturous conditions that violate the Geneva Convention — go to the heart of President Obama's expansion of Bush-era civil liberties violations, like the indefinite detentions of alleged enemy combatants at Guantanamo. Except Manning is not an enemy combatant but an American citizen. And since Manning himself says his actions were spurred by his outrage over the conditions in which he was forced to serve under "don't ask, don't tell," we must ask what impact Manning's sexual and gender orientation have had on his treatment.

As of press time, investigators had yet to make a determination whether to try Manning. Under a law signed by Obama he could be held as an enemy combatant indefinitely. If he is found guilty of treason, he could face the death penalty. Either way, Manning is already the victim of both the Obama administration's war on terror and its homophobic ideology.

It's no surprise that last year 250 legal scholars signed an open letter declaring Manning's treatment unconstitutional. He was kept in solitary confinement for nearly a year, in a constantly lit cell without a pillow, sheet, or window. He was forced to be naked for hours at a time and examined every morning. He was allowed only an hour a day of exercise, and if he stopped moving during that hour, he was returned to his cell. He was denied legal representation as well as visits or conversations with anyone, including military personnel and Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who had made requests to visit with Manning.

But when Manning was transferred from maximum security at Quantico, Va.'s Marine brig to a medium-security facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., it was less about ending his torture and more of an indication that he is viewed as an enemy combatant rather than a member of the U.S. military. But Manning was not a spy; he was not working for a foreign government. As Michael Whitney of FireDogLake reported, more than 10 statements by the Pentagon referencing the move indicated that Manning would be detained at Leavenworth for an indeterminate period and that no trial was imminent.

His mental and psychological states have declined rapidly due to his treatment, and in all the celebration over the repeal of DADT, the case of Bradley Manning has faded into invisibility. Sadly, Manning, who was living as a gay man but had expressed a feeling that his gender identity might be female, may be out personally, but his case is the most closeted in recent U.S. military history.

Manning is the forgotten soldier, emblematic of the struggles queer service members face. Alone, attempting to figure out his sexual and gender identities (he spoke with a gender counselor days before he allegedly sent the documents to WikiLeaks), angered and frustrated by his own growing belief that there was no sense to military actions in either Iraq or Afghanistan, Manning was in crisis. Transcripts of emails between Manning and bisexual hacker Adrian Lamo indicate the panoply of emotions he was grappling with as he deliberated over leaking the documents.

February 14 2012 4:00 AM

Valentine’s Day can feel like a knife in the hearts of single people. The thought of entwined lovers filling the streets is enough to make you want to treat yourself to an entire pizza, bunker down underneath the covers and sob into your body pillow for the next 24 hours. To help you cope, we’ve asked some of our @Gaysayer comedians to share their insecure tales of romance and regret.


How Do You Keep The Romance Alive? 


“My dildo and I mix it up occasionally and invite people
Smith, @jamismithcomic



“I try to poop at work whenever possible.”
Raimondo, @mursebrianrn



“I pretend I'm Newt Gingrich and my wife has cancer and
they're my hot, understanding mistress (or mistrer).”
Travon Free,



“Cialis in his cereal.”
Lake, @dariennelake



“Keep paying the 4.95 per minute.”
Mackenroth, @jackmackenroth



“Like anything else on life support: paying thousands of
dollars to keep something alive that should be dead.”
Hooker, @wordsofahooker



“By installing a carbon monoxide detector in the basement
your boyfriend is locked in. And don't forget to feed him!”
Pete Beat,



“By not choking him out. Oh and Sade.”
Martindale, @justmartindale



“By covering my naked body in chocolate so when he gets home
and screams ‘Who are you get the fuck out of my house,’ I'll have something to
eat for the drive home.”
Zackary Ross, @zackblows 



“Pregnancy scares. It makes my wife feel virile.”
Lesbian, @laughinglesbian



“We have an open relationship with produce.”
Egert, @alisonisfunny

February 13 2012 5:45 PM

Nicki Minaj’s Grammy performance, full of Catholic imagery including the
depiction of an exorcism, means she may be demonically possessed, says an
ultraconservative Catholic activist.

February 13 2012 2:05 PM


Question: My boyfriend and I live together in Delaware, which legalized same-sex civil unions earlier this year. For years we’ve been talking – on and off — about making our relationship legal when we could. Instead of some fancy chocolates or a bouquet of roses for Valentine’s Day, I think I’ve come up with a unique gift: asking him to marry me by posting a YouTube proposal on his Facebook page. What do you think?

February 13 2012 12:22 PM

Pedro Almodóvar
Director of The Skin I Live In

 Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar reunites with one of his greatest discoveries, Antonio Banderas, in this perversely hypnotic medical horror film that redefines the term "boy toy." At first it seems Almodóvar has lost his way, but he has a purpose. He deliberately and methodically rewards viewers' patience, seducing them before delivering astonishing — and often shocking — images.

February 13 2012 4:00 AM