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.

The first season of Sundance
Channel original gay reality series, Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, was so popular that critics and viewers — including more than
230,000 Facebook fans — hosted viewing in-house parties each week to toast the
New York City-based shenanigans. Now season two is set to premiere today in
back-to-back new episodes at 9 p.m. ET/PT, featuring a whole new cast and a new
location, this time in not-so-liberal Nashville, Tennessee.  

Girls Who Like Boys Who
Like Boys
, which is produced by World
of Wonder (the folks behind Becoming Chaz and RuPaul’s Drag Race)
looks at the special relationship between gay men and straight women, featuring
several duos who are real-life friends, making it an immensely watchable
reality show where the bonds are authentic rather than made-for-the-camera
moments ala Bachelor and, well,
most other reality shows where strangers are housed together and cameras
intensify false perceptions of connection.

This season of Girls features a hit songwriter, a former child star, a
stand-up comic, a socialite, and a shrink in a city known for its patriotism,
country music, and religious fervor. We chatted with besties Tenisha Jackson
and Jared Allman. Allman grew up a Mormon on a 500-acre farm in East Tennessee,
while Jackson grew up in the heart of Memphis. She’s since authored a series of
books, including a novel of urban romantic intrigue, Immaculate Deception, which was released on November 11. (“That was one of
the best days of my life,” says Jackson. “And that wouldn't have been possible
if it weren't for Jared.”) Allman is an actor whose largest film to date is an
upcoming role in Scenes from a Gay Marriage. 

The two have been best
friends since they met, though Jackson admits she gets flack from others in the
African-American community — not because Allman is gay, but because he’s white.

The Advocate: Did you have a friend like Tenisha when you were
growing up in Tennessee?
Jared: I did. Her name was Laura Parker — an amazing friend.
People used to say to us all the time, “You two are going to get out of this
town and do great things.”  Well
not sure about me [Laughs], but Laura works for the United Nations and just
left back out for her latest assignment in the Congo. She is so special and
beautiful in every single way. She says she always knew about me being gay but
was kind enough to let me come to terms when I was ready, and I will always
love her for that.

I read that Tenisha’s
college years were spent hanging with celebs and pro-athletes. Tell me your
craziest experience during that time. 
Tenisha: Probably one of the craziest experiences during that
time was when me and my girls went to the Superbowl in New Orleans one weekend,
the next weekend we flew to Philadelphia for the All-Star game, then we
vacationed in Hawaii — three weeks in a row — all while in one month during
college and I still managed to maintain a 3.5 GPA.

Jared, your childhood must
have been very different than Tenisha’s. Being gay and Mormon is not easy. What
was that like?
Jared: It was almost life and death for me. I felt very
isolated, alone, and empty. Like anyone who feels those feelings you start
thinking the unthinkable. Being gay and Mormon is one of the worst sins — basically,
I will burn in “spirit prison.” When I finally came to terms with myself, I
came home and told my parents. My dad drove me out into a hayfield on our farm
because he said we couldn’t talk about such things inside the house. I was 22.
He said I was sick, he would send me to Utah to get help. I told him I didn’t
need any help. I was born this way, like Lady Gaga — but I really said it. I
never wanted to be that man that lived a lie, had a family, cheated his whole
life, and hurt all those people along the way. My dad was so stupid, he even
said to me. “Are you going to start wearing dresses now?” I told him he was an
idiot. He has a masters degree! Also all of this will be in the book I am
writing titled, Kinda Good at Everything: Growing up Southern, Mormon, and

November 18 2011 3:00 AM

 “I think part of the reason is that the lead character, the hero, is often not popular—not the cheerleader or the jock. Many LGBT kids feel like outcasts. Most gay fans also have a favorite ‘final girl’ from a film franchise—all the gay men love Amy Steel from Friday the 13th Part 2 because she’s a tomboy. She’s really pretty but also smart and tough. Films always allow us to project our hopes and dreams, and having outsiders triumph really resonates.”— Jeffrey Reddick, screenwriter and creator of the Final Destination series

“Two of my best friends are a couple, and my conversation with them is, like, it’s unfortunate that things take a while to progress like this, but it was a great, great victory for equality. I’m proud that New York has balls to stand up for what’s right.” Justin Timberlake on New York’s legalization of same-sex marriage

“For an actor to be working is a kind of miracle, because most actors aren’t, so it’s just silly for a working actor to say, ‘Oh, I don’t care if anybody knows I’m gay’ — especially if you’re a leading man. Personally, I wouldn’t advise a gay leading man–type actor to come out.” Richard Chamberlain


“I know that in my lifetime, everyone American will have the right to legally marry the person they choose and that it will be recognized federally as well as by the state.”—White Collar star Matt Bomer

“It’s weird how as the LGBT community becomes more visible it has become hip for straight girls to make out. I think that confuses people who are trying to understand what real bisexuality means. It’s not just making out with your best sorority friend at a kegger party. There’s a little bit more to it than that.”—Bisexual blues musician Candye Kane

November 17 2011 4:00 AM

The Great Night by Chris Adrian (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
In this darker and smuttier retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream,Adrian gives magic to the humans and humanity to the sprites.

Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planetby Catherine Friend (Da Capo Lifelong Books)
The lesbian author of Hit by a Farm is tired after 15 years of shepherding but reconsidering her retirement in this history of sheep and the current state of American small farms.

Blind: A Memoir by Belo Miguel Cipriani (Wheatmark)
In 2007, Cipriani was beaten so badly he lost his sight. As this memoir reveals, the perpetrators were his childhood friends. But the real story is in his learning to deal with his sudden disability.

Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, edited by Ivan E. Coyote (Arsenal Pulp Press)
Butch storyteller Coyote edits this anthology of queer, intersex, and trans authors including Jewelle Gomez (The Gilda Stories), Thea Hillman (Intersex), and S. Bear Bergman (Butch Is a Noun) writing about butch-femme identities and relationships.

Black Like Us: A Century of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual African American Fiction, edited by Devon W. Carbado and Dwight McBride (Cleis Press)
This overview of 100 years of African-American writing demonstrates the interconnection between race, gender, and sexuality.

November 17 2011 4:00 AM


“The thing that sucks about being trans is I am the only gay guy no other gay guys are attracted to. When I tell a gay guy I’m trans he says, ‘Awwww sweetie, I like real boys.’ What am I, Pinocchio?” —Jeffrey Jay on the perils of dating. Jay is a 24-year-old trans comedian in Dallas who does training and speaking at colleges to help address and spread awareness of trans issues. “My goal is to use comedy to expose people to trans issues,” he says. “I hope that when people watch me do my set they leave thinking, ‘Wow, I just saw a trans person for the first time and he was normal and funny.’”

November 17 2011 4:00 AM

1. Ricky Martin
@ricky_martin (4,100,253 followers)
2. Perez Hilton
@PerezHilton (3,914,656)
3. Stephen Fry
@stephenfry (3,195,845)
4. Neil Patrick Harris
@ActuallyNPH (1,934,988)
5. Adam Lambert
@adamlambert (1,215,533)

@adamlambert: Amazing.
Anti-Hate protest outside venue. Completely outnumbered the Westboro Bastard Church of Ignorance. Love overcomes hate.

November 16 2011 4:00 AM

Happy Endings (ABC)
This modern-day, Chicago-based Friends features Adam Pally as Max, one of the rarest of breeds: a realistic gay guy in an ensemble comedy.

Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family)
A teenage mystery about four best friends that’s equal parts Heathers, Desperate Housewives, and Nancy Drew for the cyber age, and one, Emily (played by Shay Mitchelle), is a lesbian.

True Blood (HBO)
Vampires, werewolves, demons, fairies, and humans coexist in Bon Temps, a small town in Louisiana — but hardly peacefully. Many of them are bisexual or gay.

American Horror Story (FX)
Zachary Quinto as a gay interior designer and creepy former house owner is just one of the many queer things about this gothic Southern horror.

Degrassi (TeenNick)
The most underrated LGBT-friendly show is this decade-old teen soap opera in which Jordan Todosey plays trans kid Adam, Argiris Karras and Shannon Kook-Chun are gay athletes Riley and Zane, and Annie Clark is lesbian teen Fiona.

November 16 2011 4:00 AM

It began as a series of benefits around Los Angeles, but earlier this month the performance of Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays spread across the U.S. At least 40 different theaters in 19 states performed Standing on Ceremony simultaneously in early November. One of the show’s actresses is Jennifer Lanier, whose most recent work, a riveting one-woman show about race, identity, and the closet, None of the Above, was called “a flash of beauty and inspiration” by The New York Times. Lanier, who performed in several of the plays for Standing on Ceremony, lives with her wife, fellow performer and domestic violence activist Dustina Haase-Lanier, and their two teenage boys in Portland, Ore. Lanier made her film debut in 1988’s Quiet Victory: The Charlie Wedemeyer Story, alongside Immortals star Stephen Dorff, and has been a mainstay on the theater circuit. The actress, who can also be seen in upcoming episodes of NBC’s Grimm and TNT’s Leverage, chatted with The Advocate about weddings, straight girls, and Sally Struthers.

The Advocate: What did it mean to you to participate in Standing on Ceremony?
Jennifer Lanier: I was honored to be part of this project. As an actor, I play lots of characters that are nothing like me, so it was a blast to have that much connection to the roles I read. And knowing that so many other actors were having the same experience all over the country ... all of us felt the connection. I feel very strongly about marriage equality and, frankly, how cool was this?

 How did you get involved?
Stephanie Mulligan, literary manager and artistic associate of Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, Ore., asked me to come on board. I have worked for ART before. Stephanie gathered a stellar group of actors and technical folks to make the evening happen. And when she told me that wedding cake would be served after the show, I immediately signed on.

November 16 2011 1:26 AM

Our man on the New York theater scene has alone time with Hugh Jackman, gets caught in a bad bromance with Jesse Eisenberg, worships Hunter Parrish, sobers up with Judith Light, and more.

November 15 2011 6:17 PM

 Is it possible that a sinister strategy that worked so well for Republicans in election cycle after election cycle — throwing out antigay red meat to its ravenous, energetic, evangelical base — could actually, finally be the party’s undoing? Pointing to the GOP’s nasty, homophobic actions could actually work in the Democrats’ favor.

Let’s take a case in point: the 15th annual Human Rights Campaign dinner, held in October. There’s no question we were all stoked when President Obama, speaking to the group for the second time in his first term, came out swinging against Republicans by standing up for a gay soldier who was booed by audience members at a GOP presidential debate.

Stephen Hill, who is serving in Iraq, was among those asked to present questions to the candidates during the Fox News–Google debate in Orlando, Fla., in September. He identified himself as gay and asked former U.S. senator Rick Santorum if he would bring back “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Before Santorum could give his answer (which was a resounding, ugly “yes!”) audience members booed at Hill’s mere mention of the fact that he is gay. Neither Santorum nor any of the other candidates stood up to the bigotry at the event.

“We don’t believe in the kind of smallness that says it’s OK for a stage full of political leaders — one of whom could end up being the president of the United States — being silent when an American soldier is booed,” Obama stated passionately, as the crowd at the Washington Convention Center in D.C. roared and leapt to its feet. “We don’t believe in standing silent when that happens. We don’t believe in them being silent since. You want to be commander in chief? You can start by standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, even when it’s not politically convenient. We don’t believe in a small America. We believe in a big America — a tolerant America, a just America, an equal America — that values the service of every patriot.”

The comments were noteworthy not just because Obama forcefully blasted the GOP after almost three years of “reaching out” but also because the rest of the president’s speech was cautious and lackluster. He touted his achievements for LGBT Americans — many of which came only after hard pushing by activists — and laid out no concrete plans for equality in the future. Nor did Barack Obama “evolve” (his word) on marriage equality, as some had hoped he would.

The fact that a president who is timid about both taking on the GOP and loudly advocating for LGBT rights hit so hard against the Republicans over their hostility toward a gay soldier was quite telling: Even Obama’s cautious campaign handlers saw it as an easy win.

November 15 2011 4:00 AM

 Tomboy, directed by Céline Sciamma
A winning French tale about a 10-year-old who lives as a girl or a boy depending on the people around.

Joe + Belle, directed by Veronica Kedar
A dark Israeli comedy about two girls who fall in love with each other and their country en route from Tel Aviv to Sderot.

Weekend, directed by Andrew Haigh
A star-crossed romance about the connection made between two gay men.

Gun Hill Road, directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green
A searing drama about a transgender teen’s relationship with her convict father.

November 15 2011 4:00 AM