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.

Q: My partner and I have been together for 11 years now and have been in the same cozy one bedroom apartment for most of them. As you can imagine, space is tight and we’ve got just about everything we need since we weren’t going to wait till we could get legally married to buy our silver or dinner service. Of course, we’ve got the requisite blender, Cuisinart, waffle iron, quesadilla maker — not to mention Champagne flutes and crystal vases!

October 24 2011 6:00 AM

Mr. Gay Hong Kong 2011 was crowned on October 15 at the Bisous nightclub.

October 24 2011 4:00 AM

Susan Mikula's photography — especially the American Bond series — is as quintessentially American as the iconic regionalist painters' work of the last century: Charles Sheeler, Edward Hopper, and Grant Wood. Like those artists she finds the poetry in industry. Paradoxically, the more stripped back her photos become, the more the emotion vibrates.

In this portfolio there are nine images from the "American Bond" cycle which is comprised of three series: "American Device," "American Vale," and "American Breakbulk." All are archival pigment prints from a Polaroid original. The portraits at the end of the portfolio are from the show, "desidero." All three are chromogenic prints from a Polaroid original.

Born and raised first in urban/industrial New Jersey, and then in a small New Hampshire town, Mikula now lives and works in rural Western Massachusetts and in New York City.

Two current shows of interest: "American Bond" at George Lawson Gallery, Los Angeles, runs though November 19; and "desidero" at William Baczek Fine Arts, Northampton, Maine, runs through October 29.

See the link at the bottom of the page for previous coverage on of Mikula and her girlfriend Rachel Maddow.

The Advocate: Why are you a photographer?
Susan Mikula: Every day, I make pictures in my head.  It could be of the wet patch of pavement I can see from the bedroom window, of the light — that light! — angled out and splayed all gold and sparkly, of the broken bench, the mossy stone, the gas can. Right?  Pictures — photographs are part of how I see and how I think.  They are, I guess, my way of speaking.

What catches your eye?

Time passing and the movement of light. The bounded infinity of unfilled space. 

Tell us about your process or techniques?
I shoot from a dwindling stock of expired Polaroid film using vintage cameras.  I use available light and don't crop the work in any way. I am very slow to take a shot.  I have thought and thought about what I am working on, sometimes for months, because when I finally start taking the pictures, I want to know what I am looking for, which camera to use at what time of day and at what exact moment.

What artists do you take inspiration from and why?
I am in love with painters.  Big explosive beauty like Julian Schnabel, Joan Mitchell, Cy Twombley; complexity and manipulation like Gerhardt Richter or Agnes Martin. Closer to home, I would be very sad not to look at the work of Maggie Mailer, Charlie Hunter, TJ Walton or Ward Schumaker.

What makes a good artwork to you?
Good artwork is unknowable, unruly, numinous.

October 22 2011 4:00 AM


 10. FILM: Norman
Cougar Town’s Dan Byrd, who played a bullied gay teen in Easy A, stars as the titular troubled high schooler — he fakes cancer while caring for his dying dad — in Jonathan Segal’s lyrical coming-of-age dramedy, which opens October 21 in limited release. Straw Dogs baddie Billy Lush (pictured) also stars as Norman’s gay best friend James, who tries to convince him to join the drama club. For more info visit


 9. DVD: The One
Though it begins with a gossipy gay brunch in Manhattan, Caytha Jentis’s sweet and sturdy romantic comedy is refreshingly full of surprises. Jon Prescott, who played Neal Cassady in Howl, stars as Daniel, a closeted jock who appears consumed by his inconvenient lust and gnawing stomach ulcers as his pregnant wife eventually wises up to the fact that his heart belongs to Tommy, a charismatic scamp played by Ian Novick.


 8. FILM: Paul Goodman Changed My Life
Out director Jonathan Lee introduces a new generation to late intellectual Paul Goodman, a countercultural and highly influential sociologist, anarchist, pacifist, and openly bisexual father best remembered as the author of Growing Up Absurd and the 1969 essay “Being Queer.” Produced by trans filmmaker Kimberly Reed, this new documentary runs through November 1 at New York’s Film Forum. For more info visit

October 21 2011 5:57 PM

Some people know actress Sheryl Lee Ralph for her work in TV (Moesha) and as one of the original Broadway Dreamgirls (she played Deena 25 years before Beyonce). Others know Ralph for her tireless HIV philanthropy. As part of her charitable organization, The Diva Foundation, Ralph has raised both awareness and bundles of money for HIV causes.

October 21 2011 11:35 AM

Jake Gyllenhaal treks through a super-storm in blinding snow leading a small group of survivors to safety. A spaceship hovers over the White House, then destroys the seat of executive power with a single shot of its deadly laser. On Mount Corcovado, the statue of Christ that keeps watch over Rio de Janeiro crumbles to pieces as it’s overcome by a massive tidal wave.

These images, from three of the highest-grossing movies of all time — The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, and 2012, respectively — are indelible examples of Hollywood’s contemporary disaster epic. All of them were made by one man, Roland Emmerich, but most moviegoers couldn’t pick him out in a lineup, let alone name him. And that’s fine by him.

While the eight Hollywood studio films Emmerich has directed have collectively grossed more than $1 billion, the German expat has flown under the radar, rarely doing interviews and shying away from public speaking. But as he prepares to release his latest film, Anonymous, a more personally meaningful movie than any of his previous work, Emmerich is ready to loosen the grip on his public image, making himself significantly less anonymous.

Anonymous is a (mostly) disaster-free tale of literary and palace intrigue in Elizabethan England. It stars a cavalcade of respected British actors, including Vanessa Redgrave, Derek Jacobi, and Mark Rylance, in a story that brings to life one theory about the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays — that the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere (played by Rhys Ifans), was the true Bard.

“A writer doesn’t work out of nowhere,” Emmerich explains in heavily accented English, clearly displaying the passion he has in believing that Shakespeare cannot be the man history has made him. “The more I read about it the more it pissed me off about Stratfordians,” he says of scholars who maintain that William Shakespeare’s plays were written by the actor of that name from Stratford-upon-Avon. “They believe that art comes out of nowhere, out of the thin air. Like you’re just a genius and you write about things, you know about everything all of a sudden.”

The whole Shakespeare’s-not-who-you-thought-he-was scenario is a departure for Emmerich, but it turns out that Anonymous is only the beginning of Emmerich’s transformation as a filmmaker. What he really wants to do is direct a gay film.

When Emmerich began making films in his home country, he was driven to not become a gay filmmaker. “When you were in Germany and a gay director, you could only do gay films. I didn’t want to fall into that,” he explains. “So I kept my mouth shut. All my friends knew that I was gay, but I was not publicly gay.”

He moved to the U.S. in the early 1990s and started making movies, beginning with the Jean-Claude Van Damme–Dolph Lundgren vehicle Universal Soldier. Little by little, he came out publicly.

“It happened naturally,” he says. “You get more famous, then you take your boyfriend to some [red-carpet event] and they ask, ‘Oh, who’s that?’ You say, ‘My boyfriend.’ You kind of just don’t hide it anymore.” Emmerich lives with his musician boyfriend of three years, Omar de Soto, on a five-acre Los Angeles estate built in 1919.

“I actually avoid premieres,” Emmerich says. “I avoid everything. I have to be talked into going to my own premieres.”

Still, within Los Angeles’s gay community, Emmerich is well-known for hosting boy parties that attract hundreds — even more than a thousand, he says—scantily clad twinks (his word) to do “God knows what” in and around his pool. But Emmerich has sworn off what had become an annual Pride weekend pool party that he cohosted with his longtime friend Bryan Singer, director of X-Men and X2. 

October 21 2011 4:00 AM

OK, yes, I know, it’s not hip to say you love watching Rules
of Engagement
, a neglected CBS comedy that
is, on its surface, about two straight married couples, their randy single het
friend, and his long-suffering assistant. But even before the show introduced
the lesbian storyline last season (wait, does one character a “storyline”
make?), there was enough about Rules
to make me think viewers who were looking hard enough could find enough
subversively queer content to make the show a must-see. Now that it’s back on
must-see Thursdays instead of relegated to Saturday, why not take a gander?
(Although you’ll want to TiVo Parks & Rec, of course.)

1. Orlando Jones is Brad, a gay, black man — minus the
stereotypes. TV does not do black gay men justice. Example: We love Tatyana
Ali, and TV One’s Love that Girl
deserves more props than it gets for having a hot, kind of funny black cast,
but the swishy gay guys are so over-the-top that it’s like one of those In
Living Color
“Men on Film” segments. Jones
is none of that. He’s cute, smart, married, and funny. We need more scenes with
him — especially ones that play off the other cast members’ discomforts around
race, masculinity, and sexual orientation. Bonus points: Orlando Jones also
starred in the lovely little gay comedy Misconceptions.

October 20 2011 9:25 PM

 I have been watching the new FX television series American Horror Story since the show premiered. I know this is a work of fiction, and thus far, it has been effectively eerie. The October 19 original broadcast episode, though, was disappointing to me. I don’t know if the reference to Sal Mineo’s murder and erroneous explanation of the actual attack was introduced for “one-off’ shock value, or there was some reason to introduce the murder which will reveal itself sometime in later broadcasts.

October 20 2011 5:08 PM

Bill Maher will tell you what he’s thinking. But he hasn’t
always been so blunt. The comedian and self-deprecating host of HBO’s Real
spoke with The Advocate about growing up bullied.

His biggest regret is not speaking out. That’s not his
problem these days.

The liberal political commentator’s show is in its ninth
season and airs on Friday nights. His next book, The New New Rules, will be published in November. And you can still catch him on the road doing stand-up regularly, with shows coming up in places
such as Boston, New York City, and Los Angeles this month and next. (He'll be performing at The Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal City on November 5.)

In the interview, Maher compares House Speaker John Boehner
and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to crack heads. He says Republicans
are just mean assholes. And the Democrats aren’t safe either.

Maher talks about being ostracized as a kid in school, and why
he believes President Obama isn’t a Christian and secretly plans to pass
same-sex marriage in his second term — which Maher jokes is the “black term.”


The Advocate:
To start out, I wanted to check and see if you heard that Harold Camping has
rescheduled the rapture for Friday.
Bill Maher: I have
heard that, so I've made plans.

What are your plans? 

I hear it's late in the day, so we're going to have an early

You know, I want to be raptured, because, oh, there's
nothing on the weekends anymore, TV has sort of punted on Friday nights. So I
figure what the fuck, get raptured.

I had Robert Jeffresss on Friday night and I ran out of
time, but I really wanted to ask him about that because that name of his book
is something like “How America's Last Days Can Be Your Best Days.” It's very
comforting to know that the people who are making decisions about your country
think it's a good thing that the world is ending. That gives me really a lot of

We'll see what happens with Harold Camping, if we make it
to Saturday.

I've got my fingers crossed.

I want to talk about Religulous because you went to visit an ex-gay so I wonder if
you learned anything from him.

I love that guy. First of all, that scene, I continue to
hear about it. When people talk about the movie, they do remember that guy.

 It's because no one's ever met an ex-gay.

[Laughs] He was just
so sweet and the way he could not contain himself — or should I say not reveal
himself — and the way, at the end, we get up, and he hugs me. He says, “Can I
get hug.” Of course. And as I joke, I say, “Hey did you have a hard-on there?”
And he says, “Nope, can't do that anymore.” Well, come on, right there,
brother. Make it a little harder than that. 

Why don't you think there's been more of an outrage
against Michele and Marcus Bachmann going around bragging about their Christian
counseling clinics, which offer so-called reparative therapy?

I think because she fell off the radar as the candidate. She
was the frontrunner. Now it's all about Herman Cain. It's so ironic. People say
the gays are promiscuous. You know who is promiscuous? The Republican Party!
They’re fucking a new guy every week. I mean Trump and then Bachmann and then
Perry, and now they're even experimenting with a black man.

I don't know if this is going to last. Do you?

Oh, it definitely is not going to last. I guarantee you the
one thing the Republican Party will never do is allow a presidential election
where your only choice is a black man.

Do you think that Bachmann falling in the polls had
anything to do with her stances against gay people?

No, I think in the Republican Party that's a plus. [Laughs] I was rooting for her because I think Marcus would
make a fantastic first lady, I do.

So let's talk about your “It Gets Better” video. You did
one last month in which you admitted you were bullied as a kid for being short.

Nooo. I think my theme was — well, I was short — but I think
my theme was more that ostracism could be a form of bullying. Because I thought
that was something other people were not talking about. And I couldn't believe
that it was unique to my upbringing. When I was a kid that was a major form of
bullying. That can be almost more devastating.  To get punched in the face, that's happened to us all. It
hurts, it stings, but sometimes it goes away the next day. But that thing where
nobody talks to you, and you are like a ghost in the classroom. Oh man, when
you are 10-years-old that's pretty rough.

A story just came out about a kid who killed himself this
weekend and he said basically that same thing. So you had this happen to you?
You were ostracized as a kid?

Absolutely. I remember that much more than I remember any
sort of violence or stuff like that. Maybe it was just the kind of kids we were
where I went to school. I don't know what it was. But I lived in fear, and I
mean I used to get up in the morning with a knot in my stomach. Am I going
to be the one today that is going to be persona non grata in the classroom?
And that’s a terrible feeling. But I have always
said that children are not innocent. I know people love to think that about
children: Oh, children, they're wonderful. They're not. They are feral and
mean. You have to teach children to be good people. It just does not come
naturally as a human being. I know that breaks a lot of people's bubbles about
the wonderful children in the world, but that's the truth. I am a much better
person as an adult than I was as a child.

Do you think that we are doing better now? 

I think it's great that at least there is a movement that's
started. What has to happen is that for so long they have recognized that
teachers can't just be on the sidelines. They can't just stand there and say
kids are going to be kids, and they’re going to make a certain number of them
kill themselves. No, no, that’s why you are the adult in the room. That's why
we have that phrase — “the adult in the room.”  That's you, the teacher. Be the adult in the room. Put an
end to it. You could be the bully stopper.

Not a single elected Republican has recorded an “It Gets
Better video”. Why do you think that is? Is it really politically risky to participate
in an anti-bullying campaign?

You know,
they just don't want to ruin their reputation as always being assholes. [Laughs]
Sometimes honestly, I know I’m being a little facetious, but sometimes they do
things and that's the only thing you can think of. It’s like, really? What is
the motivation here? And you realize it's just: they appeal to mean assholes.
Look at their Republican debates and cheering executions. They’re applauding
when someone says that people without health insurance should die. They're just
mean! And they like being mean. That's why they like candidates like Perry and
Bachmann. And Herman Cain is now talking about the fact that we should build an
electrified fence on the border and have a moat with alligators. He’s walking
this back a little, but he's basically still saying, oh, it was just a joke,
but the humorous part where we commit violence and kill Mexicans? He still
believes in that.

And in the debates they had the gay soldier who was
booed. Then Mitt Romney came out and said it's not his job to correct the

It's amazing what some people in town halls will say, and
the candidate not correct them. “Thank you for that question about Obama being

The only time you can remember is when John McCain
corrected that woman during the 2008 campaign.

Yeah, well, that's McCain. Every once in a while, he does
something that makes you like him.

October 19 2011 6:00 AM

2:35 p.m. in Hollywood: Lambert records his new album at Conway Studios on Melrose Avenue.

October 18 2011 3:40 PM