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.

Alek & Steph (Stephane Marquet and Aleksandar Tomovic) have brought their European artistry to American efficiency. They make the perfect team, creating the magic as they take images simultaneously with two different cameras and work together on the postproduction. Their photography has been published all over the world, reaching millions. Steph is originally from the sunny south of France (which is a bit like Palm Springs with water and an accent), but then he moved to Paris, took that “Parisian attitude” everyone talks about, and transformed it into something all his own. Alek is originally from Serbia (which is a bit like the San Fernando Valley with an even thicker accent), but then he moved to Paris, met Steph, fell in love, and became a French citizen.

Whether you are talking about Alek & Steph’s blogs, their online magazines, their photography, or even their lives, you are talking about inspiration.

Such stimulation comes from extensive world travels and the vast experiences they have absorbed from countless cultures and from meeting some pretty darn amazing people. Just take a look at their photography and you can sense the inspiration ... and the timelessness.

October 09 2010 4:00 AM

Joining the thousands of LGBT's and straight allies filming "It Gets Better" videos over the past few weeks, several celebrities have stepped up to the plate to offer words of encouragement.

From Neil Patrick Harris to Anne Hathaway, check out some of the best celebrity videos we've come across, each encouraging LGBT youths to stay strong and keep fighting.

October 08 2010 4:50 PM

Elton John said that "Born This Way," the title track from Lady Gaga’s next album, is a new gay anthem bound to surpass even Gloria Gaynor’s "I Will Survive."

Entertainment Weekly
spoke with John, who described the forthcoming Gaga album as “f—ing amazing.” Despite speculation he may appear on the album, John said that seems unlikely because the album is more or less finished.

October 08 2010 10:15 AM

Country music star Tim McGraw made a surprise visit to Grassland Middle School in Tennessee to talk with students about bullying last Friday, but it appears that he confined his remarks to bullying in general, and not homophobia.

October 08 2010 8:35 AM

In an exclusive column, Broadway performer John Carroll takes Advocate readers behind the scenes of Lincoln Center Theater's hotly anticipated musical production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. 

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is finally in the Belasco Theatre, our newly renovated home away from home. It's hard to express the emotions that came over me walking into the theater, onto the stage for the first time. It's been a long road, and I've finally made it to a rather wonderful destination — 111 W. 44th St., to be exact.

I started settling into my dressing room and I got to meet the stage crew, the group of people who will be the backbone of this production. I got to meet the man at the stage door, the man who will shield me from the endless hordes of screaming fans after the show ... cricket ... cricket. I'm figuring out where the closest coffee shop is and which streets are best to travel to beat the wall of tourists that creates gridlock in Times Square. It's a lot of new things to consider, and they are all welcome.

We are officially in tech rehearsals. This is the time when all the technical aspects of the show — sound, lighting, sets, etc. — are worked out and rehearsed. A whole other layer of magic is added to the show. While it can be a slow, arduous process, when it's done, the show is that much more complete. This time really isn't for the performers. We have had the luxury of weeks in the rehearsal studio figuring out our part in this show. However, it is now time to be patient and give the show's other elements their time. The technical side of WOTV is stunning. We have four treadmills, spanning the width of the stage, used to transport sets and performers. There are people literally hanging from the rafters and some of the most beautiful, crystal-clear projections that will make you feel you are in the outlandish world of Pedro Almodóvar.

Let's face it, I'm extremely grateful. It's easy to forget how it is when you're not working. How frustrating it is to audition for job after job, casting a wide net yet catching nothing. At times you question your talent, you question your training, your life choices, and sometimes even that second helping of macaroni and cheese that you really wanted but knew you shouldn't have had because the lactose always makes your stomach ... but I digress. Then, just when it feels too much to bear, you land that big job and suddenly you've been chosen. You are no longer on what feels like the island of misfit toys. I never want to forget what it's like to fight for that next job. It keeps me focused. It keeps me humble.

October 07 2010 3:45 PM


Pictured above are Mark Berger, Kelli Simpkins, and Mercedes Herrero in technical rehearsal for the moment "Finding Matthew" in The Laramie Project. In the foreground is our tech table.

Before anyone decides they want to make a living in the theater, they ought to sit in on a weeklong tech rehearsal. Tech is hell. Anyone in the theater will tell you that. And if tech is hell, tech on The Laramie Project is the ninth circle.

You may spend hours standing around bored to death and then suddenly find yourself in a fight with one of your best friends in the cast for no particular reason, and no one can quite figure out what the fight is even about. Actors go hysterical with anxious hilarity, designers have meltdowns, directors try to bear it all for a while and then suddenly flip out and tell everyone to shut up.

The tech table is set up in the middle of the auditorium, just out of earshot. There sit both our directors, our stage manager, our lighting, set, costume, and sound designers and all their assistants. Cryptic whispers float through the darkness from the tech table.

Decisions are being made about the look and sound of the piece, while onstage we all stand in our places, waiting around and trying to pass the time as best we can while lights are focused on you or costumes are changed on you or sound is played under you.

October 06 2010 7:00 PM

“In her kiss, I taste the revolution!”

So goes the ecstatic shriek at the pinnacle of Bikini Kill’s punk girl-power anthem “Rebel Girl.” Released at least three times between 1991 and 1994 — including one version produced by Joan Jett — the track was a fight song for Riot Grrrl, a punk feminist movement of young women that flourished across the United States, and in Canada and the U.K., in the early and mid ’90s.

Riot Grrrl had its roots in the punk scenes of Olympia, Wash., and Washington, D.C. It spread first through the music of all- or mostly female bands based in these two towns, including Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and Heavens to Betsy. (Kathleen Hanna, the lead singer of Bikini Kill, later went on to front the feminist electro-pop band Le Tigre; Heavens to Betsy’s singer-guitarist, Corin Tucker, cofounded the power trio Sleater-Kinney.)

The movement was about far more than music, though. In the early ’90s — a time of Anita Hill and Tailhook, Rush Limbaugh and parental-consent abortion laws — affronts against young women’s dignity seemed endless. Riot Grrrl swiftly crystallized the anger and frustration of a whole generation of young women. Daughters of second-wave feminism, these girls had grown up on promises of equality that seemed to dissolve sometime around adolescence, when the endless opportunities allegedly available to girls in “postfeminist” America began running aground on the realities of constricting gender roles and beauty standards, sexual harassment and assault. These contradictions were enough to make a girl want to scream.

And once Riot Grrrl began, thousands upon thousands of girls did scream, in myriad ways. They picked up electric guitars and drumsticks for the first time. They organized meetings and festivals and conventions. They wrote handmade zines and built underground self-publishing networks to distribute one another’s writing, art, music, and videos.

October 06 2010 2:20 PM

Howl star James Franco appears in drag for a Candy magazine cover shot by Terry Richardson.

According to the Huffington Post, “Terry Richardson shot the actor, with his hair slicked back, wearing blue eyeshadow and thick red lipstick.”

October 06 2010 9:00 AM

The cast of Hellcats, the new cheerleading show on the CW, invited Tyler Wilson, the 11-year-old whose arm was broken for joining a cheerleading squad, to visit the set.

Two classmates in Ohio broke Wilson’s arm in August during a bullying incident over his decision to join the cheerleading squad for the Findlay Steelers, part of city youth football program. The sixth grader has refused to leave the squad despite the torments.

October 05 2010 10:40 AM

Margaret Cho danced in a rainbow fringe dress Monday on Dancing With the Stars, in a performance designed to bring awareness to the problem of LGBT youth suicides.

Cho and partner Louis van Amstel danced to the "Copacabana" by Barry Manilow. Although she received low marks for her dancing, the comedian focused on her message.

"Our story is serious," she said the performance. "We wanted to celebrate pride. We wanted to show ourselves off. It's a tough time for the gay community. A lot of gay teenagers have committed suicide, so we want this to end now!"

October 05 2010 10:15 AM