Wednesday, April 30, 2008

JFC Making a Splash at the Emmys?

Despite canceling John From Cincinnati it seems that HBO recognizes what a brilliant show that it had in hindsight. HBO has submitted JFC for Emmy consideration in the following categories for acting. No doubt they are submitting for consideration for Milch, for writing, and for the series.

Lead Actors: Bruce Greenwood, Brian Van Holt, Austin Nichols,
Lead Actress: Rebecca De Mornay
Supporting Actresses: Keala Kennelly, Emily Rose, Chandra West
Supporting Actors: Greyson Fletcher,
Willie Garson, Luis Guzman, Ed O'Neill, Luke Perry, Matt Winston
Garrett Dillahunt, Dayton Callie, Jim Beaver, Paul Ben Victor

Handicapping the JFC group, you can see one or two that have real chance for a nomination. If Ed O'Neil is not seriously considered in the supporting actor category it would be criminal, who remembers Ed Bundy in his performance as Bill Jacks. Right off the mark, Ed came out with an amazing performance.

And the other actor? That would have to be Austin. Up until JFC we saw so little of what Austin was capable of as an actor. Working with Milch opened up a entire new level of performance for Austin. His portrayal of John a messenger not of this world was one of the most developed unique multifaceted layered performances on TV last year. From the smallest of details, expressions and characteristics he created a character that had an audience for thinking what is this? to who is this? to ultimately could it be?

Austin took a role that could make or break him as an actor and ran with it, giving a fearless performance that many would find too risky.

"David was really quiet and he was ignoring me and I finally got to call him and I wanted to ask him and talk to him about it cause I like to collaborate and get everybody, you know, get help and throw my ideas out and David was literally—literally looked at me and said “I just want you to do what you did as Morgan.” And that really confused me and I didn’t know any—and the only thing he said is “Austin, you’re the guy. You gotta be the guy. And to you, I just want you.” And so I’m thinking, does David think that I’m retarded? And it took me a long time to sort of process what he meant by those things. In the end what I just realized is that whatever I do is fine. And he gave me so much confidence in just telling me that basically I can do no wrong. I can make no mistakes. All I have to do is show up and just be there with everybody."

It was Milch's confidence in his acting and in him that let Austin create one of most memorable characters on television in recent memory. If the Motion Picture and Television Arts can not see that, it will be an even greater disappointment than the cancellation of JFC itself.

Little JFC rewind: Great interview with Austin.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gay News Corner II

A Muslim First

Filmmaker Parvez Sharma gives a first-person account of making his new documentary, A Jihad for Love, about homosexuality in the Islamic faith and how his commitment to his faith and his desire to show the world another side of Islam brought him to his own jihad.

 A Muslim First

As the director of A Jihad for Love -- the world's first documentary to take a close look at Islam and homosexuality -- I am coming out as a Muslim man. My gay identity is secondary. Queer cinema is filled with stories of gays and lesbians revealing their sexuality, but my film is about people revealing their religion. With this film, the story of a 1,428-year-old religion is told by its most unlikely storytellers -- gay and lesbian Muslims.

Making this film and finding subjects who would be willing to share their stories with me was a "jihad" (struggle) in itself. In many of the cases it took me years to convince the subjects to participate, and I had to build relationships of mutual trust with them. What made it easier and certainly worth the challenge was that I was a Muslim like my subjects and we had much in common because of the backgrounds we came from. The entire process took six years of my life -- and these six years I cherish dearly for everything they taught me, not just about my own Islam but of the universal jihad, or struggle, to belong.

This film tries to construct the first real and comprehensive image of these unlikely creatures -- to be P.C., gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer Muslims -- and it is forcing many audiences to realize that these terms are a Western construct. Let me be clear: None of these categories means anything to many of my friends living in Cairo or Islamabad. If anything, the languages they speak -- Farsi, Arabic, Urdu, Punjabi, and Bengali -- have very few words of affirmation to describe the "odd" and "unnatural" behaviors, so to speak, that we indulge in. The cinematic representation of these complex identities therefore has come with many of the challenges of almost developing a new language.

It is a little-known fact that a sexual revolution of immense proportions came to the earliest Muslims, some 1,300 years before the West had even "thunk" it. This promise of equal gender rights and, unlike in the Bible, the stress on sex as not just reproductive but also enjoyable within the confines of marriage have all but been lost in the rhetoric spewing from loudspeakers perched on masjids (mosques) in Riyadh, Marrakech, and Islamabad. The same Islam that has for centuries not only tolerated but also openly celebrated homosexuality is today used to justify a state-sanctioned program against gay men in Egypt -- America's "enlightened" friend in the Middle East.

When in New York I often wonder how the lives of the subjects in this film would strike the consciousness of, for example, a Chelsea boy. Traveling to more than 10 countries with the film in the last few months has made me wonder about the absence of religion within "gay" lives. Clearly, spirituality can provide a kind of freedom. But it is also clear that for too many of us religion has not remained an option.

For the last six years, I have found myself immersed in the souls and spirits of the people who have shared their lives and their most private moments with my camera. Sometimes when I look at the footage of the gay Iranian refugees who have almost no material or spiritual support or the gay man who was tortured in an Egyptian prison for two years, I feel a tremendous disconnect. Growing up in worlds not very dissimilar to theirs, I know I understand and can empathize -- but knowing that I sit in America or in Europe working in the film world, I feel a sense of tremendous emptiness. This disconnect is similar to what a filmmaker feels when real people and real relationships turn into two-dimensional characters in a movie.

Sometimes in these worlds, traveling with my American Jewish producer and others, I feel we could be at the edge of some kind of revolution within Islam. As a Muslim, I know that this could be my jihad. But then the disconnects come and haunt me at night. Yet whenever the gay imam in the film, Muhsin, or the Egyptian refugee, Mazen, join us, the dots all seem to connect very well.

For any filmmaker who sets out to make a work that is intensely personal, the process is emotionally overwhelming. As a gay Muslim myself, I had a sense of shared struggle and shared pain with all of the subjects. While the camera was on (I was the primary camera operator) there was always an exchange of emotion between me and them. It was my hope that our mutual histories, cultures, and struggles would translate to the screen. I cannot think of another way of working when you are examining a community where the silence has been so loud and so overwhelming.

I never sought government permission in any of the countries where I filmed because I knew it would not have been granted. What was always foremost in my mind was the safety of these beautiful human beings, these devout Muslims whose lives I was documenting. I took extreme precautions to make sure that the tapes I shot were always safe. I would always record "tourist-like" footage at the beginning and end of a tape, and I would always store the tapes in my check-in baggage, with a prayer. Security staff at airports in fundamentalist regimes (the United States being a good example at this time) are not the friendliest people. I did have a difficult time in some countries because filming such profound human stories is hard for anyone, but at the same time I knew that I was filming while I was essentially there as a tourist. The countries that were easiest to film in were Turkey and of course India, my home country. In both these nations, which have significant Muslim populations (India has the second-largest Muslim population in the world, after Indonesia, and Turkey is 99% Muslim), the attitudes toward homosexuality are definitely more open than in others, and people accept the idea that there is a spectrum of human sexuality.

One personal challenge in making this film was to keep my deep respect for and belief in my faith paramount. Sharing some of the stories of condemnation, of isolation, of pain, would make it easy to issue a blanket critique of Islam. I knew that as a Muslim I could not allow myself to fall into the trap of being an apologist for my faith, joining the bandwagon of post-9/11 Islamophobes. I knew that I had to be a defender of the faith as a Muslim filmmaker and at the same time engage in a critique of what I knew was wrong in orthodox Islam's condemnation of homosexuality. I have always said that I made this film with a Muslim lens, as a Muslim filmmaker who also happens to be gay. Too many films about Islam right now are made by Western, non-Muslim filmmakers, which while commendable is also problematic -- in a world that now largely perceives Islam as a problematic monolith. Currently our religion is under attack from within (from an extremist fringe) and from without (by governments and media only focusing on the violence). Islam needs us to step out as Muslim artists and take back the discussion of our faith.

Our last battles of acceptance remain to be fought on the front lines of religion. With our "jihad for love" we bring Islam out of the closet.


Parvez Sharma's A Jihad for Love blog

Monday, April 28, 2008

Some Serious Shagging

South Carolina is the Land of Shag and not just because Nailed is filming there.

While some states have a state flower, a state song, even a state cookie, South Carolina has a state dance. The Shag is official state dance of South Carolina.

We know that Jake has some moves, but can the man shag?

The Shag came from the Myrtle Beach (SC) and Wilmington (NC) beach communities in the 1940's and is still popular in both the Carolinas and Virginia. A form of swing dancing which has some steps similar to a jitterbug, it originated as a way for the white youth in the then segregated south to dance to predominantly African American Rhythm & Blues music ( early basis for Rock -n-Roll).

The basic Shag moves are an eight count dance where the upper body remains still and all movement is done with the lower half of the body. As partners dance the basic Shag the man holds just one hand of his partner as he leads. He is the center of attention and in more advanced shag moves his partner not only mirrors his moves but spins and twirls around him. A basic shag leaves one hand free for each partner and while very frowned upon in competitive shagging events, it is well known that your free hand is to hold your drink as you shag in the sand. The shag is one dance that you can do and never spill your beer.

Yes there are shag clubs, shagging contests, junior, amateur, novice and pro shagging divisions, and Shag : The Movie.

There is no doubt somewhere in Columbia there is some shagging going on. Wonder if Jake will get his shag on? Now that's "Dancing with the (former co) Star"!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Out Spotlight XXIII

This week we focus on an actress I have liked since she was very young- Heather Matarazzo. In 1996, when she was 11, she was in the movie Welcome to the Dollhouse. If you have not seen this movie, I highly recommend it. It's about a young girl who is absolutely tormented by her classmates. Matarazzo is incredible in it. In fact, she won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance. Other movies Matarazzo has been in include- The Princess Diaries (she is extremely good friends with Anne Hathaway), Saved, Hostel II, Scream III, and 54. She has also been on TV in the lesbian shows The L Word and Exes and Oh's.

Heather Matarazzo came very casually out as a lesbian in 2004 (she was 22) in an interview with the New York Daily News. She said, "I met the person I'm so madly crazy in love with. She's not famous yet. She will be. She wants to do musical theater and stage, which is not as demoralizing as the movie business is." The girlfriend she was referring to is actress Caroline Murphy, who Matarazzo is still with. In 2005, Matarazzo was the keynote speaker for GLSEN of Boston's annual conference.

Heather Matarazzo had this to say about coming out-

"It was one of the most freeing experiences of my life, in that it gave me a sense of, wow, now I can fully be a part of the gay and lesbian community, and I don't have to be on the outskirts."

She also said this-

"Oh my God, I can breathe! Honestly, there was a time after I came out that I really did not think I would be working again."

Heather and Caroline at the Becoming Jane premiere last year.

Here they are again, in a pic that came out this week. Posted just because I think they are so cute!

"We were sitting in my pink room with pink carpeting. It was summer and we were sitting Indian-style across from each other and I was so incredibly nervous. And I thought, `Yeah, I am definitely gay.'" - On her first kiss with a girl.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Our First Movie Club

Our first movie club!

Simon and Wei-Tung are a gay couple living together in Manhattan. To defer the suspicions of Wei-Tung's parents, Simon suggests a marriage of convenience between Wei-Tung and Wei-Wei, an immigrant in need of a green card. When Wei-Tung's parents come to America for the wedding, they insist upon an elaborate banquet, resulting in several complications. Written by Scott Renshaw for IMDb

Taglines for The Wedding Banquet-

A little deception in the reception.

You are cordially invited to a wedding where everybody wants to kiss the bride... except the groom.

Watch the trailer below.

Discuss! :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Stop the Music

Why is there no music today? OMG wanted to recognize GLSEN's(Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) 12th Annual Day of Silence in our own way. We wanted people to still comment to each other but wanted to make a statement supporting the Day of Silence.

The Day of Silence is about safer schools, tolerance and positive change.

It is a student-led day of action where those who support making anti-LGBT bias unacceptable in schools take a day-long vow of silence to recognize and protest the discrimination and harassment -- in effect, the silencing -- experienced by LGBT students and their allies.

In 1996, students at the University of Virginia organized the first Day of Silence in response to a class assignment on non-violent protests. Over 150 students participated in this inaugural DOS. In 1997, organizers took their effort nationally and nearly 100 colleges and universities participated. In 2001, GLSEN became the official organizational sponsor for the event.

This year's Day of Silence is dedicated to memory of 15 yr. Lawrence King,
California student who was shot and killed at school in February by a 14-year-old classmate because of King’s sexual orientation and gender expression.

GLSEN's 2005 survey found
that four out of five LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school and 29% report missing at least a day of school in the past month out of fear for their personal safety. The Day of Silence is one way students and their allies are making anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and name-calling unacceptable in America’s schools.

GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, now in its twelfth year, is the leading national education organization addressing the serious problems of anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) name-calling, bullying and harassment that affect ALL students – LGBT and straight alike – in our nation’s schools. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

Movie Club Reminder - OMG's Movie Club is tomorrow. OMG will be discussing Ang Lee's movie The Wedding Banquet this Saturday, April 26th, you still have plenty of time to watch it and come join us.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Texas Size Birthday

Happy Birthday Austin!

Another reason to celebrate, this time for the Tall Texan
and again we celebrate a guy who is full of love and laughter.
And who brings a smile to some special like no other person can.
It is fitting that we send him birthday wishes like those for Jake.

One of laughter and one of love

Movie Club Reminder - OMG will be discussing Ang Lee's movie The Wedding Banquet this Saturday, April 26th, you still have plenty of time to watch it and come join us.

Special thanks to Hjulia at Austin Media, and Spooky2th at Austin Nichols Journal for all the great pictures they have found of Austin, that are used in the collage.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Zen and the Art of Movie Making

To borrow one from Jon Stewart and The Daily Show.

Toothy's Moment of Zen

Movie Club Reminder - OMG will be discussing Ang Lee's movie The Wedding Banquet this Saturday, April 26th, you still have plenty of time to watch it and come join us.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's So Easy Being Green!

What would Earth Day be without a mention of The Day After Tomorrow . A disaster movie of epic portions that could be prevented by greener living. And Jake is one who leads the way in going greener.

From buying mango and nut trees through Future Forest in Mozambique to reduce his carbon footprint, to becoming involved in environmental groups like Global Green USA, Carbon Neutral Company (working with companies and individuals who want to tackle climate change), and the Los Angeles Conservation Corp. Jake traveled to the Arctic Circle and the Inuit people with Salma Hayek for the movie "Everything's Cool" a story about a handful of global warning messengers.

A self professed recycler, he also gets greener in his cooking too, not only going organic but more so by choosing to buy from local farms wherever he is. The clothes on his back are greener, notably his
Loomstate Jeans, made of organically grown cotton, (Jake the new Mr. Greenjeans?), and for the first time in 2007 was named one of the Best Dressed Environmental by Sustainable Style Foundation. Even to the biggest events he goes green, with bio-desiel powered eco limos, low emission hybrids with Red Carpet, Green Cars at the Oscars, and attending the Green Party by Global Green. And course Jake goes greener with his choice of his go-to car, his Toyota Prius hybrid.

And what about his TDAT co-star? Austin is still the man of mystery on a lot of things, but sure that Jake's greener living has rubbed off on him. And have to surmise that Austin's life long love with water and water recreation, that he is a strong supporter of cleaner water initiatives, with water conversation and cleaner oceans, rivers and lakes projects.

Wicked's Easy Tips for Being More Eco-Friendly-

Reuse. Recycle. Switch to CFL bulbs. Turn off lights. Set thermostat to 68 in winter and 78 in summer. Set water heater at 120. Wash clothes in cold water. Use rechargeable batteries. Compost. Take mass transit. Go vegetarian, or better yet, vegan. Ride your bike. Carpool. Walk. Drive 55. Set fridge temp to 37. Set freezer temp to 5 and keep it full. Turn off the dry cycle on your dishwasher. Unplug "energy vampires" like TVs, DVD players, and iPod chargers when not in use. Use low-flow showerheads. Insulate your home. Eat local. Use a laptop. Drive a car with a manual transmission.

Source: Mother Jones, May/June 2008 issue

Probably most of us are already doing some of these. Challenge yourself to do more. Do you want to help an environmental organization, but don't know which one? Here is a comprehensive list of international organizations that are working to improve the environment. I bet one of them is exactly what you're looking for.

Happy Earth Day! :)

Major props to Stubborn for finding the Kermit version of this song in mp3! It HAD to be Kermit!

Note: This is our first co-post. Spesh did the first half and Wicked did the second half!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Scenes from a session

"Alright everyone. We are all here to day because of a mandate of the studio for a professional therapist to be on the set and available at all times to help defuse some of the situations during filming. Many of you have already been contacting your own support systems but the studio, backers and insurance company feels that group sessions are mandatory until the films wraps."

"Oh yeah blame me. Caan walked out on his own."

"We are not here to place blame, we are here to make sure the studio finishes paying for this movie. "

"Our sessions will be completely confidential. What is said can not be used on the set or anywhere else. We will use a variety of ways to express our feelings and frustrations. And find some resolution"

"With this group we will use a variety of techniques to express yourself in constructive and appropriate ways. There will be no name calling, abusive language, bullying, threats or physical altercations.

Since we have some how have issues centering on expressing themselves we are going to use puppets so that we can expressive all of our feelings."

"They're socks!"

"I am not putting a sock on my hand."

Oh you won't put a sock on your hand what are you too good for sock puppets.

"They're disgusting!"

"I know you are but what am I?"

"Hey stop taking my shtick"

"And those dog toys you throw aren't?"

"Oh you won't put a sock on your hand what are you too good for sock puppets."

"Okay Okay, everyone this is exactly while we are here."

"Yes they are are - sadly the studio gave us a limited budget and we blew it all on the Rock'em Sock'em robots for conflict resolution."

"This is a safe place for free and open dialog. You can say whatever you feel needs to be said. There will be no retaliation for what is said here.

Now the studio needs you to sign this paperwork saying they are not responsible for any thing and absolves them from all legal action. Sign here, here and here. "

"What is this here?"

Oh that, well that is that if the group therapy doesn't work, they will bring in Alec Baldwin.

"Hey! That's great, he helped me. But don't get him yet, I want to try those Rock'em Sock'em Robots. "

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Out Spotlight XXII

The gay community knows how much it needs its straight allies. So this week's Spotlight is on Judith Light- straight woman, actress, and gay rights activist. Light is a fairly well-known TV actress. You may have seen her on the soap One Life to Live, her long-running show Who's the Boss?, or more recently in Ugly Betty. Light has won a Daytime Emmy for her work on One Life to Live and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Ugly Betty. Light was also in a very successful off-Broadway production of the play, Wit.

Light got involved with gay activism after playing AIDS victim Ryan White's mother in a TV movie in 1989. She has worked with numerous gay rights and AIDS organizations. She was a speaker at the March on Washington in 1993 (I was there too!), is on the board of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and even has a library named after her at the L. A. Gay and Lesbian Services Center, where she is a former board member. Light has also worked with the Gay Games, and was a speaker at the Gay Games Opening Ceremony in 1994. Last year she teamed up with Chad Allen and made the film, Save Me, about a man who is forced to join a Christian group to be cured of his homosexuality.

My favorite story about Judith Light is her helping her Who's the Boss? co-star Danny Pintauro come out of the closet. Pintauro played her son on the show and in 1997 when he was 21 the National Enquirer called him and threatened to out him if he didn't talk to them about his sexuality. One of the first people he called was Judith Light, the woman he describes as "a second mom." Light was totally supportive and encouraged him to talk to them so he could get the story out in his own way. Pintauro did and felt pleased with the article the Enquirer did. Light continues to support Pintauro and his career.

Judith Light helps Danny Pintauro come out

Official website of Judith Light

"Those of us who are straight don't always know what we have to come out about. I think that when gay people come out, it gives the rest of us the chance to say, `Maybe we can tell the truth about ourselves too.'"- Judith Light

I've been wanting to do a post on a straight ally for a while now and I had been thinking about Judith Light. I knew she was involved in AIDS activism and had helped Danny Pintauro come out. I had no idea how much she has done or how many organizations she has worked with. Doing the research for this post has made me so impressed with her. And she looks incredible! She is more beautiful now than when she was doing Who's the Boss? and that was over 15 years ago! Continued success to Judith Light!

Yesterday's poll is still open, so vote!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Saturday Polls

It is Saturday, so there be polls! The first one relates to the two possible blockbusters that Jake is rumored to be doing. According to IMDb, Prince of Persia's release date is June, 2009. Orlando Bloom is still rumored to be attached to this. The Untitled Moon Project, also possibly called Giant Leap, is also listed as releasing in 2009, no more specific date associated with it. Jake is listed as attached to this film. I would imagine Untitled Moon Project would release in the summer, to capture the summer moviegoers. I can't see Jake being in two action/adventure/potential blockbuster films coming out at around the same time. Makes me think something's gotta give. So which one would you rather see him do?

You know that I like to do polls for both of our boys. Spesh and I came up with a few ideas about possible roles for Austin. Which of these do you all think is best for him? This poll is a bit different, as it has been configured to be multiple choice! Now, don't abuse this feature by voting for everything! (Spesh this means you!)

My fave of the new Jake on the Nailed set pics. He's shaving! The Anti-Beardy-Beard brigade is pleased! Amazing how many pics are coming out of this movie set. From IHJ, of course.

*REMINDER*- Next Saturday, 4/26, is our first Movie Club. The movie is Ang Lee's The Wedding Banquet.

OMG wishes everyone a Happy Passover! Try not to eat too much! Today's song is a traditional Passover song.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sweet T

South Carolina may have its charm but it can't compare with this charmer.

Austin can charm many, but what is it? That look? That smile? That funky fashion? Or that he is just one hell of a sweet talker who can lie like a rug.

He has crashed parties, gotten an agent, started a career and got jobs on that charm.

He's claimed to been a party guest, a tennis player and great at basketball. He's even charmed his way out of a broken nkle from Milch & Company. And if you can get past Milch's bullshit meter, you must be good, damn good.

If he ever put the Southern drawl with it who's to know what he could do. He could chat you up, pick your pocket and have you saying thank you.

Now what happens with a when a such sweet talker meets a sweet Tooth?

Austin Vanity Fair Italia picture courtesy of Austin Media

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Save it for a Rainy Day

....we're walking, we're walking, ha...ok, alright....go over tomorrow's David my "suggestions" wait for that explosion... what's at craft services today, this coffee isn't cutting it... ice cream... no, no more ice cream...text Mags... maybe she sent new pictures of Ramona... ice cream.... what's in my tooth......will Jeter be in the lineup for Yankees tonight....Youk on third for Lowell...Go Sox! ....make sure they get both the NBA package and the MLB package to catch the Lakers and Sox while I'm here...gotta work out tonight ...block scene with Jess....don't call him Pee Wee it's Paul... not Pee Wee.....da dada da da da TEQUILA... what the hell was Tracy talking about at the table reading this morning...I think I need a toothpick....make bet with Chris on Celtics and Lakers in the finals....bucks... my Buck.... remember Kristin's comments on the scenes between Howard and Alice...Howard, Howie? would he be a Howie...gotta check my emails....this umbrella thing is driving me crazy...brella, brella, brella, ...definitely time to text that big Buck..oh yeah

PA walking that drip? is that umbrella dripping? that can not be dripping! have to get a new umbrella and get a back up

Umbrella holder... we're walking, we're walking...I'm union, I'm union...we're walking, we're walking.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Southern Comfort

Sounds like Jake is settling down just fine in South Carolina and enjoying the fine Southern charm. Not that he hasn't been touched by the Texas twist on it. But South Carolina will do their best to show them how charming they can be too.

What will he find in the Palmetto State? As they say, "smiling faces, beautiful places". South Carolina is full of natural beauty from the waterfalls in the west to their famous coastline. Including a Spring Break destination at Myrtle Beach. And not mention South of the Border, the rest stop and road side attraction, just "south of the border" between North Carolina and South Carolina in Dillon. Any road trip down I-95 has to include South of the Border, in all its camp glory. Fireworks, you need fireworks?

But there is more to SC than that and much more to explore over the coming weeks.

There is a proud Southern culture steeped in tradition in South Carolina. People proud of their Southern roots and their state. You will find many with South Carolinian roots or deep transplanted ones, like writer/director Alan Ball, musician Dizzy Gillespie, author William Gibson, James Brown, Jesse Jackson, baseball legend "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, actress Andie McDowell, author Pat Conroy, and singer Darius Rucker, who most would call Hootie as in Hootie and the Blowfish, which came out of Columbia and the University of South Carolina. All are proud Carolinians.

So for the next few weeks Jake will get to enjoy the sounds of southern drawls, great food, great times, and lots of sweet tea. And surely the attention of many good southern belles and maybe a few beaus too.

The South might not rise again, but with Jake there you never know what might rise.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Gay News Corner- Tax Time!

Today is April 15th, which means we file and pay our taxes in the U. S. Not having our relationships legally recognized can create many headaches for gay couples. Check out this article from the Advocate-

Tax Time for Gay Couples Means Complications, Higher Bills

For gay couples, the April 15 tax filing deadline can be a reminder of the disparities they face, even in a nation that is becoming more accepting of same-sex couples.

Gay couples often pay higher taxes because they don't get the federal tax benefits that go with marriage. And for couples in state-sanctioned domestic partnerships, civil unions, or same-sex marriages, filing federal income taxes can involve doing three sets of paperwork instead of one.

''It's a significant financial disability,'' said Beth Asaro, who last year entered into one of New Jersey's first legally recognized civil unions.

While the debate over government recognition of gay marriage is a political hot-button with arguments about morality, civil rights, and tradition, the tax issue is a mostly practical one for thousands of same-sex couples.

Most states don't recognize same-sex unions in any way. Only in Massachusetts can gay couples legally marry. Since 1997, nine other states and Washington D.C. started offering civil unions or domestic partnerships that give some or all the legal protections of marriage.

Those protections include allowing gay couples to file state taxes jointly -- potentially saving them money. But they can also make tax filing more complicated for the couples.

That's because the state protections do not help with federal taxes. Under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, the government recognizes marriage only between a man and a woman.

''You're running one household,'' said John Traier, a partner in the Butler, N.J., accounting firm Hammond & Traier. ''But the federal government and a lot of states treat them as two households.''

The same is true for unmarried straight couples who are living together.

There are two main effects of the different treatment under federal law.

One is the tax rate. Take two couples where one partner has a taxable income of $20,000 and the other makes $40,000. If they can file their federal taxes jointly, the tax bill would be $8,217.50. Filing separately, the combined bill would be $9,032.50 -- more than $800 higher.

Another disparity comes with the federal government's treatment of employer-provided health insurance, which also affects unmarried heterosexual couples.

For example, Dan Jessup is a project manager at JPMorgan Chase in Indiana. His partner, Bob Chenoweth, is self-employed, running two businesses out of the couple's Mooresville, Ind., home. So Chenoweth gets health insurance through Chase.

But Jessup is required to count the company's cost of his partner's benefits as additional income for tax purposes.

State and federal taxes on those benefits cost about $1,800 per year, Jessup said.

''I certainly think about it every payday,'' when the extra withholding is taken from his paycheck, he said. ''If you think about 10 years, $18,000 is a lot of money. That could buy me a pretty nice car.''

The tax on benefits for domestic partners also applies to employers. Companies including Chase are endorsing the Human Rights Campaign's push for a bill that would end the tax on health plan benefits for people who are neither the spouse nor legal dependent of the employee. Versions of the bill have been introduced in Congress in the last three sessions, but have never moved out of committee.

A government analysis estimated the bill would cost about $10 billion in lost federal tax revenue over 10 years. Advocates for the bill say it would create savings elsewhere, including reducing the Medicaid rolls.

Ryan Ellis, the tax policy director for Americans for Tax Reform, said his group supports the concept, but not the specific language of the bill, because it does not propose increasing how much domestic partners could put into health savings accounts.

It's not just the higher bills that can be frustrating for same-sex taxpayers; it's also the process of filing taxes, particularly in states that offer some joint benefits to gay couples.

''I don't want to say it's chaotic, but it's very difficult for a lot of reasons,'' said Traier, the accountant who is in a civil union partnership himself.

In New Jersey and the other states where same-sex unions are formally recognized, couples can file their state taxes jointly, but they must file their federal tax returns as individuals.

That means doing income calculations twice. Many tax programs such as Intuit's TurboTax are set up to deal with that extra math.

But there are other issues even up-to-date software might not solve.

These issues also affect unmarried straight couples.

For instance, couples with children must decide which partner gets to claim them as dependents for tax purposes on federal returns and returns in states that don't recognize same-sex unions. Similarly, couples who own homes together have to sort out how much of the mortgage interest payments each partner gets to use as a deduction, said Lara Schwartz, the Human Rights Campaign legal director.

''If you are not a different sex'' from your partner, Schwartz said, ''you are strangers, basically, under federal law.'' (Geoff Mulvihill, AP)

Below is a lovely scene from the Botanic Gardens to help you get through your taxes. Note- this pic does include orchid porn! Make bigger by clicking on it. It is lovely enlarged and you can see the names of some of the orchids.

Pic by Wicked's Mrs.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Apply directly to the Forehead

It is back to work for Jake with Nailed starting principle filming today in South Carolina.

And it may not just be Jessica Beil that gets the headache. While the satirical dark comedy is controversial, so is the filming of it. Just last week the Secretary of Commerce for South Carolina tried to block the filming because the script didn't "jive" with his morals. Despite the scrambling to try to get around him, things got so bad it ended up that a special committee meeting was convened with members of the SC Film Commission, the Commerce Department, and David O. Russell and others from the film.

What is Nailed about? Well there are a few different synopsis out there. What is known is that is "loosely" based on the novel by Kristin Gore entitled "Sammy's Hill" and adapted by David O. Russell and Gore.
Sammy Joyce, a socially awkward small-town receptionist who has a nail accidentall
y shot into her head by a clumsy workman, eliciting wild sexual urges. Who heads to Washington to fight for better health care. Now here's where things start to get a little fuzzy.

Look at the current snyopsis at IMDB. "An original romantic comedy about a naïve small town waitress who accidentally gets a nail buried in her head, causing erratic and outrageous behavior that leads her to Washington DC. There she falls for a dashing, but clueless, Congressman who searches for the courage to save her."

And look at what the synopsis was when it was announced back in November. "Biel, 25, would play Sammy Joyce, (now renamed Alice Eckle) a socially awkward small-town receptionist who has a nail accidentally shot into her head by a clumsy workman, eliciting wild sexual urges. The uninsured Joyce goes on a crusade to Washington to fight for the rights of the bizarrely injured. She meets an immoral congressman ( Howard Ryder) (Gyllenhaal, 26) who takes advantage of her sex drive and capitalizes on her crusade as Joyce heads into her own career in politics."

Which movie will it be? Knowing Russell it will be the latter and not the former. The watered down synopsis may be because of the recently
personal scandals of many U.S. politicians. Jake does have the knack for picking roles that are relevant at the moment.

And can a nail to the head change your personality? Yes it can. Phineas Gage is proof. Well it was more than a nail. In 1848 Gage was working on the railroad in Vermont when a blast happened
"the powder exploded, carrying an instrument through his head an inch and a fourth in circumference [sic], and three feet and eight inches in length, which he was using at the time. The iron entered on the side of his face, shattering the upper jaw, and passing back of the left eye, and out the top of his head." This seemed to destroy the frontal lobe of the brain, but amazing Gage survived the injury. Miraculous for health care in 1848, but even more so for the severity of the injury. Friends said he wasn't the same Gage. Who would be after a metal rod goes through you skull.

Pictures: Capital, Flowers, Bird - Special K
Jake - IHJ

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Out Spotlight XXI

Today we focus on an out member of royalty. In fact, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil is the only known royal person who is out. He is a prince of the Indian state of Rajpipla. His childhood was traditional Indian conservative, and the prince did not know that homosexuality was normal. He said, "Nobody told me that I was gay and this is normal." He married in 1995 because his family expected it but said the marriage was never consummated. Prince Manvendra finally revealed his sexual orientation to his wife and they divorced.

Prince Manvendra came out to his family in 2002 when he was hospitalized for an emotional breakdown. The family did nothing at that time, but when he came out more publicly, they tried to disown him and accused him of bringing dishonor to the dynasty. He has since been reunited with his father and retains his titles. Prince Manvendra appeared on the Oprah show last year and said that his mother does her best to avoid him, although they live in the same palace. The prince said he does not regret coming out,

"I knew that they would never accept me for who I truly am, but I also knew that I could no longer live a lie. I wanted to come out because I had gotten involved with activism and I felt it was no longer right to live in the closet. I came out as gay to a Gujarati daily because I wanted people to openly discuss homosexuality since it’s a hidden affair with a lot of stigma attached

In 2000, Prince Manvendra started the Lakshya Trust, a community based organization that provides HIV and AIDS education. The Trust offers counseling services, clinics for treating STDs, and promotes the use of condoms. It also works to provide employment opportunities for gay men and has a plan to open a hospice/nursing home for gay men. In 2006 the Lakshya Trust won the Civil Society Award for its work in preventing HIV/AIDS among gay men.

Recently, the prince announced his plan to adopt a child. If the adoption succeeds, it will be the first known case of a single gay man adopting a child in India.

Official website for the Lakshya Trust

An Indian prince comes out

Prince Manvendra on Oprah.

Voting is still very tight on the PoP poll. I'm going to keep it open so more people can vote!

The top orchid slut. The Mrs. chose this one because of his obvious physical attributes and also because, in her words, "It looks like he has a rash!" She said it's probably an STD and he got it catting around. I bet it was that wasp! That what you get, deceiver!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Two Polls for your Consideration

I'm sure you all could tell by now that I'm not feeling this Prince of Persia thing so much. Wanted to get a sense of what you guys think. Should he or shouldn't he?

Here's a poll for Austy too. Where, oh where, can our Austy-man be?

One of the things Spesh, the Mrs., and I did while Spesh was here was visit the Botanical Gardens in D. C. They had a fabulous orchid exhibit. The orchid is one pornographic flower! I think this orchid looks like a real slut! Spesh and I talked about including orchid porn in some of the posts. So here is some gratuitous orchid porn. I hope you enjoy it! :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Truth Revealed

Actor Austin Nichols not named after whiskey but a warehouse in Brooklyn NY.

In a stunning disclosure the Nichols family broke down to reveal star Austin Nichols was named after a grocery warehouse in Brooklyn, NY. Looking away, holding back their emotion, they finally discuss the origin of the name. "We have let the lie live too long, and feel that the true story be told. We had a long discussion with Austin, who was shocked and in disbelief, but is slowly growing to accept that he was named after Austin, Nichols & Co, a grocery warehouse on the waterfront of Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood."

The building is one of the earliest reinforced concrete warehouses in the United States designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert, who went on to design the famed Woolworth building. The building was constructed in 1913-15 when Austin, Nichols & Company, one of the leading grocery wholesalers in the country, moved from Lower Manhattan to Williamsburg, in part to take advantage of water transportation to ship its goods.

Cass employed Egyptian Revival motifs for the structure, with a coved cornice, battered walls and narrow window openings. The building remained the company’s headquarters until the 1950s. Eventually the building was converted to residences, art studios and office space.

"It was close to the water just like we are, and we were in a crazy Egyptian thing between the King Tut exhibit everywhere and that damn Steve Martin song. It made sense at the time. We thought it was kinda cool, a little hip for Texas. We didn't know it would lead to all of this. "

Both Austin Nichols have been the topic of discussion of is or isn't since 2005-2006. The warehouse status is hotly debated in the hipster haven of Williamsburg and on the Internet. The actor is a topic of discussion in LA's Silver Lake and WeHo neighborhoods and on the Internet.

One thing they do have in common? Holding the goods.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Only thing

Being a star you can have anything, but in reality all you need is just one thing.

Jake pics: IHJ
Austin pics: Courtesy of Picture This! An Austin Nichols Journal (Spooky2th)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Shifting Sand

There is buzz going around is that Jake is up for the role of Dastan, lead in Jerry Bruckheimer’s upcoming “Prince of Persia” mega movie and trilogy. Is this the franchise deal that Jake has been looking for?

In January 2005 through June 2007, there was a survey asking" both international and US respondents who they would prefer to play the title role of Prince Dastan. The results? David K Zandi, an actual Persian prince (no really) won in a landslide.

Both the US and global audiences favored Zandi, even when pitted against heavy hitter names like Orlando Bloom and teeny-bopper heartthrob Zac Efron. Zandi even has some legitimate credentials. Besides being one of the last remaining male members of the Zand dynasty, he’s also been a film executive, model, and actor. Heck, he’s even a skilled equestrian." (Next Generation)

Zac and Orlando seemed like the forerunners for Prince of Persia. Jake has come in as the dark horse. And maybe that is just the way it should be to capture a role like Dastan. Dastan has to have commanding presence about him. And the actor taking on this role needs to too. Jake seems to have grown into that kind of presence both as an actor and as a man.

Dastan is the youngest son of King Sharaman. The films begins with the seige of the holy city of Alamut. Dastan's brothers and uncles help him raid the city where he receives the Dagger of
Time, he soon finds out the properties of what he has. The dagger allows him to slow down or even reverse time. He meets Tamina/Princess Farah (script/game) his female protagonist after returning and finding that she has been captured by the troops. He finds himself falling for her.

Things go awry after his father dies by the robe Dastan has gifted him, and Dastan's arch rival, Garvis, captain of the guards, accuses him of murder. He then finds himself on the run with Tamina, who is coincidently the owner of the Dagger of Time. It is on this journey he finds about its power and the sands of time.

Starting out in small independents, Jakes has made interesting and thoughtful choices throughout his career. Good scripts, award winning casts and acclaimed directors, he has used his movies choices as one would use classes at Univeristy and Graduate School. Picking the interesting ones either by the focus of the course or the professor. Is the Prince of Persia the franchise requirement for graduation, or is it the fun elective that you take because you have the chance and you have to grab it cause you don't know when it is going to offered again?