Sunday, September 22, 2013

Out Spotlight

Today's Out Spotlight was an American LGBT activist, film historian and author who is best remembered as the author of the book The Celluloid Closet. Today's Out Spotlight is Vito Russo.

Vito Russo developed his material following screenings of camp films shown as fundraisers for the early gay rights organization Gay Activists Alliance.

 He traveled throughout the country from 1972 to 1982, delivering The Celluloid Closet as a live lecture presentation with film clips at colleges, universities, and small cinemas such as the Roxie Cinema in San Francisco. In both the book and in the lecture/film clip presentation, he related the history of gay and lesbian moments – and the treatment of gay and lesbian characters – in American and foreign films of the past.

In 1983, Russo wrote, produced, and co-hosted a series focusing on the gay community called Our Time for WNYC-TV public television. This series featured the nation's first GLBT hard news and documentary video segment produced and directed by social behaviorist D. S. Vanderbilt.

Russo's concern over how LGBT people were presented in the popular media led him to co-found the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), a watchdog group that monitors LGBT representation in the mainstream media and presents the annual GLAAD Media Awards. The Vito Russo Award is named in his memory and is presented to an openly gay or lesbian member of the media community for their outstanding contribution in combating homophobia. Russo was also actively involved in the AIDS direct action group ACT UP.

Russo appeared in the 1989 Academy Award-winning documentary Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt as a "storyteller," relating the life and death of his lover Jeffrey Sevcik.

In 1990 he spent a year in California at the University of California, Santa Cruz, teaching a class, also entitled "The Celluloid Closet". He enjoyed being a professor, spending lecture breaks smoking and joking with his students.

Also in 1990, Merrill College at UC Santa Cruz established Vito Russo House to promote Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender awareness and provide a safe and comfortable living environment for queer, straight-supportive and all students who value and appreciate diversity. The house tailors its programming to meet the needs of GLBT students and offers all an opportunity to build understanding and tolerance.

Russo was diagnosed with HIV in 1985, and died of AIDS-related complications in 1990. His work was posthumously brought to television in the 1996 HBO documentary film The Celluloid Closet, co-executive produced and narrated by Lily Tomlin.

After his death there was a memorial in Santa Cruz put on by students and colleagues. There were testimonials about how inspirational he had been and en masse, the group sang "Over the Rainbow" in his memory.

His papers are held by the New York Public Library.

A family-approved biography of Ruso's life, written by NYIT professor Michael Schiavi, titled Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo was published by the University of Wisconsin Press in April 2011. A two-volume Vito Russo reader was published in July 2012 by White Crane Books titled "Out Spoken: The Vito Russo Reader - Reel One" and "Out Spoken: The Vito Russo Reader - Reel Two." Reel One presents his film writings; Reel Two collects his political/social commentaries.

A documentary film on his life, Vito, had its festival premiere within the 2011 New York Film Festival, went on to screen within such festivals as Maryland Film Festival, and had its television premiere on HBO June 23, 2012. It is directed by Jeffrey Schwarz of the Los Angeles production company Automat Pictures.

In 2013, GLAAD named the "Vito Russo test" after him, a set of criteria intended to analyze the representation of LGBT characters in films.


prairiegirl said...

If Jake is hiding a kid... his career will be finished if that information sees the light of day. Jake has on several occasions gone on the record saying he does not have kids and is not a parent and no one held a gun to his head to say such things. Even though it seems gay celebs are forgiven for past lies about their sexuality when they come out, no parent would forgive another parent for lying about having their own child especially because the only possible reason for doing so is his financially-lucrative career. If this comes out, Jake is finished.

Honestly, that's the main reason why don't think he has a kid.

I hear you, bystander. It seems terrible at this point, doesn't it?

But I believe without a doubt this is exactly what he is doing. The amassed collection of clues, tweets, Facebook sightings, comments by people on several internet threads, casual & mysterious slips made by people Jake has worked with, pictures and quotes from Jake like "I speak as a married man" and the ever-encompassing, repetitive "children in my life" are beyond overwhelming.

It's sad but I do believe Jake is pulling the hugest wool blanket over his fans' eyes. It is the non-believing fans who will be stunned when someday years from now, the truth will be revealed. Someone like that Howard Bragman will help devise the way they explain what they have been hiding all this time. That is what people like him get paid to do.

Not for me said...

If Jake is hiding a kid... his career will be finished if that information sees the light of day. Jake has on several occasions gone on the record saying he does not have kids and is not a parent and no one held a gun to his head to say such things. Even though it seems gay celebs are forgiven for past lies about their sexuality when they come out, no parent would forgive another parent for lying about having their own child especially because the only possible reason for doing so is his financially-lucrative career. If this comes out, Jake is finished.

Honestly, that's the main reason why don't think he has a kid.

I totally agree with your whole assessment. But my number 1 reason I find it hard to believe is, I don't think J/A would be so stupid or self-centered to embark on such a self defeating career ending path such as two lying in the closet gay men go thru the trouble to have 6, not 1, but 6 children thru surrogacy, then hide them and lie about them to the public.
Careers would be over if the public ever heard of such a thing.

But, some seem to think such an act is to be celebrated.
I don't! And I don't think they have any children yet.

Try Again said...

I don't think J/A would be so stupid or self-centered to embark on such a self defeating career ending path

Believe it. Jake is self destructive. And, I don't believe anyone here celebrates Jake and Austin closeting their kids. Quite the contrary. You obviously have not been paying attention.

prairiegirl said...

But, some seem to think such an act is to be celebrated.

Stop. You knock that off right now.

You who just can't stay away from here. We know exactly where you stand, you have absolutely no common ground over here, and go back to your chief residence where you slam all of us behind our backs. That is a total mis-claim what you just said and I will not let that go uncorrected.

prairiegirl said...

I'm sorry but someone who knows exactly what to expect here, knows where a few of us stand, doesn't agree with or share any common thoughts, yet continues to come here and always ends up with 1) a snark and 2) reiteration of their affirmation, is not just a stubborn poster. Their agenda and purpose here is becoming increasingly clear to me.

the real m said...

Fascinating spotlight. I am always amazed at how Special tracks down such good stories. I've seen Celluloid Closet but not Vito. I will have totrackthat down.

I don't think Jakes career will be hurt when the truth comes out. Look at Ricky Martin and I think there were a few others as well. Sure there will be a time period where he gets a lot of flack. But people are remarkably forgiving, especially when someone is talented. He is not a politician, just an actor. He'll have a rough year or two, but no worse than the impact of POP flopping. Two years later he'll be acting again. Or maybe he will move on to directing by then. Look at Roman Polanski. Exiled, but still working.

destiny said...

Great find re the FB siting of Jake with a kid. I love the fact that Jake and Maggie both said things that make it impossible for people to say it was his niece.

I still think there is only one child. I also think that one of the reasons he moved to NYC is so that if he is seen like this people will assume it's a niece.

destiny said...

I saw Vito Russo give a lecture and show clips waaay back in the day at a gay bookstore, and I have a copy of his book.

Florida Tom said...

I also now think there are kids but I also don't think there are 6. I don't believe they could pull that off. I don't think in todays world it is possible and I dont think they have the money or resources to do so. Momma and sister would not give up there lives to help out that much and it would cost a fortune. I also don't think J and A are both that irresponible to do that. Maybe one or two but I am sold they do have a family.

lying about kids = much worse said...

I don't think Jakes career will be hurt when the truth comes out. Look at Ricky Martin and I think there were a few others as well.

Yes but did Ricky Martin lie about having kids? He lied about being gay. But did he say things like "I am not a parent" when he was, in fact, already a parent? I thought he came out when he fathered / adopted his children (I don't know his details).

Jake being gay will surely be forgiven by the gay-friendly public which fortunately is now a majority in the US. It's accepted that Wentworth Miller's story is typical, that gay men (more than women though women also) are more or less forced into the closet by managers, agents and studios. And those actors once out of the closet are seen as victims of the system. Doesn't mean they'll get good leading man type roles because those just aren't given to anyone who has incapacitated their own ability to woo women into theatre seats.

Lying about being a parent is denying your children and that's a different thing entirely ESPECIALLY when the question was never even up for discussion. It's not as if poor Jake was pressured by nosy journalists to lie about his kid or kids. Only a handful of people are convinced Jake has kids. Even most Toothy Tile believers think that Jake does not have kids. He did not have to say those things, but he chose to. It is much more serious than lying about one's sexuality.

I think if Jake has kids and it comes out, his credibility is gone. Austin has far less to lose, of course, but it is Jake's career that makes the family money.

destiny said...

I agree that lying about your kids is very different from lying about being gay.

I find the FB sighting more credible for several reasons. First, it doesn't sound like it was written by PR or a tabloid. On a related note, it wasn't pushing a PR driven story. The people talking about it also sounded genuinely excited and maybe a bit surprised to see him like that. S

o often sightings sound like the supposed witness is just trying to impress people, especially when you get people claiming to see him at places he's been seen in the past, like when we've had flurries of Whole Foods sightings.

Still Patiently Waiting said...

I'm not sure about the kid(s).! It's entirely possible, but I'm going to hold off on being judgmental and continue to wait and see.

I highly doubt someone could be able (and have the stamina for) a continued process of 'hiding' anything.

I don't think it will hurt Jake's career, and I do believe people would be understanding. In today's day and age, keeping your family out of the spotlight is wise (and safer), as their are a lot of weirdos out there.

Still Patiently Waiting said...

^^oops, make that 'there'.

Also, congrats on Prisoners! It's number 1 at the box office and is getting rave reviews. Good for Jake and Hugh!

Hollywood Reporter said...

Hollywood Reporter ‏@THRraceAwards 14m

Jake Gyllenhaal to Receive Acting Honor at Hollywood Film Awards (Exclusive)

lying about kids = much worse said...

@Still Patiently Waiting that's an astute point. If Jake has kid(s) and it does come out a plausible PR story would be that he felt he needed to separate them from his papped celebrity life completely in order to protect them. It is total bullshitting but it would probably work.

destiny said...

It would be BS because celebrities can keep their kids out of the press if they want to--but most people won't know that. But then there is still the fact that he has talked so much about Maggie's family, so you have to throw that into the equation on the negative side.

My Point said...

But then there is still the fact that he has talked so much about Maggie's family, so you have to throw that into the equation on the negative side.

^^ That's always been my point.

You constantly talk about your sisters children "everywhere" and they're this and that, how you love them so, all while telling the press he has no children and would like to be a fater some day. But, hiding 6? WOW
Doesn't set well with people and would be a full out scandal IMO..

All you would need is one or 2 of the entertainment shows grasping onto this for a day or two. Say TMZ making a joke of it. Wendy Williams or any slow news cycle day/week. Jake a*s would be up you know who's creek with scrutiny.

Too Much TV said...


I agree.

TMZ's jokes about Jake would be relentless

OMG would be friendly but everyone loves a scandal.

Gossip maven Wendy(The Steets are Taulkig)Williams would be digging for info. "how you dooinnn" LOL

The friendly gossip rags would toy around with allegations without indicting J/A.

Jake would need a Carrie(Scandalous) fixer for this one.

prairiegirl said...

I think by the time these two guys come out with their kids, it's not going to be any kind of shock to the industry. Of course Harvey & the rest of TMZ already know. TMZ knew exactly what was going on in that John from Cincinnati set trailer. But they weren't going to spill every detail. They planted the question mark and that was about it. And of course David Letterman knows. Remember his dare at Jake several weeks ago? 'Shock me, Jake.' Indeed. Of course he knows. Jerry Seinfeld knows. Gwyneth Paltrow, Busy Phillips, the cast of One Tree Hill, Matt Frost, Liev Schreiber, JayZ, Marcus Mumford & crew, Jake's office staff, director Denis V., Natalie Portman and Anne Hathaway, J & A's pediatrician and family dentist, Jim Sheridan sure as heck knows and Ted Casablanca knows. I am sure a few private plane pilots know. I bet Michael K knows as well, judging by the acid tone he speaks of Jake with now. Every year with each new movie and TV show, the knowing circle grows just a bit more.

Scandal? I doubt it - not amongst those in the business. They already know.

The buying public is another story but then that's why you have people like that Howard Bragman guy. He gets paid very good money to handle big career and personal moves such as coming out and rehab stints. This is his specialty because it's serious business that has to be handled in a certain strategic and carefully planned way. He's the expert.

Lastly? Jake lies. He's been lying up the ying yang and he really doesn't care what his fans think about it, lol. He doesn't because he's plain and simple doing it.

Remember when Jake used to have a lot more visible problems lying? Well, look at how easy it was for him to sit on that stage in front of all those people and issue his rehearsed answer of "t & a". He's gotten better at it, hasn't he?

That's what happens when you want something bad enough. It's what happens when you do something over and over. It gets easier.

Still Patiently Waiting said...

It is total bullshitting but it would probably work.

It could be.

I have to say I was surprised by the "T&A" comment too, that Jake would be so blunt. Not that sexual matters shouldn't be fun and not taken so deadly seriously (in private of course), but still. I wonder if he was being sarcastic. I haven't watched yet it, so I should see.

prairiegirl said...

I know one thing. That answer of his has opened up a can of worms on a few threads. It's rare to find any Jake talk on DL since I started lurking but after that revelation, he's had a small resurgence of conversational activity. And it's not in a good way either.

The Just Jared thread on Jake & the beard yesterday absolutely imploded within itself. I think the staff is still wiping down the walls.

What an icky mess. And you know why it happened, besides the bringing up of the T & A answer within the post itself? The troll brought it all on himself. And now Jake's management has a new problem on its hands. More and more people are going to be checking out OMG all because someone from their own staff thought they were being clever.

Hey, even more hits for Special. That's just what Management wanted, right? LOL!!! Quick, someone put on a white suit and play Ricardo Montalban. Welcome, everyone!


the real m said...

Right on PG. The PR troll brings us more publicity than anyone else.

I had to laugh. One of the sites with Jake and the beard pictured had one of those "get this look" links. Like anybody would want to look like a homeless, bearded lumberjack! Even the beard's outfit was not flattering - just one more sign that she is over it too. The contract has not yielded the fame she was hoping for.

the truth said...

the more people who call out OhMyGodot on a big platform like JJ, the more people who will come here and read all about it. The babblers do themselves and their little grassroots JIS campaign no favors.

All part of the plan said...

I don't know if anyone has read that Hollywood Reporter article, but I think we have our answer of why Jake is bearding and the game plan of having Prisoners released as the only new adult movie available to the ticket buying public. He's already getting an award for Prisoners for best supporting actor AFTER the film has only been out four days? Unbelievable!

The Hollywood Film Awards are determined by founder and executive director Carlos De Abreu [who]tells THR, “We are thrilled to present the Hollywood Supporting Actor Award to Jake Gyllenhaal for his unforgettable performance in Prisoners. His is a truly compelling, subtly layered portrayal of a man tasked with the impossible and driven by the demons of his own past. Jake has given a myriad of outstanding performances throughout his career. But his work in this film achieves a new level of complexity, as reflected in the rave reviews the film has received."

prairiegirl said...

This sudden, significant weight loss of Jake's is ridiculous. I would love to know why a journalist character needs to look so frail?

We need a wheelchair over here!

Matt McBongo has never recovered. He still doesn't look right and he still looks ill. This kind of weight loss causes unnecessary stress on the body and the heart.

It's like this is the new trend to show how serious one is about their craft. What these guys i.e. Colin Firth will do to win an Oscar trophy. Is there a Cracker Jack prize inside one of those things? I get the thrill it must be to stand at the podium. I can't imagine what a moment. I'm trying to understand this sudden dirt clawing, tug of war rope grasping training regime of Jake's. It's like he's in Olympic training, isn't it?

Did all the success for Brokeback and October Sky happen in this fashion? Maybe I'm missing something. I'm not that knowledgeable on the movie scene.

prairiegirl said...

I'm just referring to the campaigning, I guess. Maybe this is the way it usually happens.

Well, I will root for him to be nominated. I will root for him to win - hopefully it happens.

I don't mean to be such a sour sack. I just need a nail to bite on for the next 12 months and I'll be good to go. LOL!

Methodical Muser said...

Uh-oh. Looks like Jake better start looking for another companion to provide him cover for Austin’s birthday next April.

Jake needs to begin interviews

Methodical Muser said...

No doubt in my mind that "the beard" is all part of the push to get Jake nominated for as many honors as possible for Prisoners. Most importantly, the Hollywood Film Awards is known for kicking off the awards season so I think it's significant that Jake is suddenly being awarded this prize so early in the game. Why not Michael Fassbender, for instance? His body of work is more substantial than Jake's and 12 Years A Slave just won the top prize at TIFF and was the runaway hit at Telluride.

very true said...

I agree that there's a lot of hype surrounding Jake's performance in Prisoners. WME is pushing as aggressively as they can to get Jake noticed and try to create momentum. The fake girlfriend is all part of the sales pitch because Jake's sending out the signal (dog whistle) to the powers that be that "I can play by your rules."

Frankly, Daniel Brühl Rush, Fassbender or maybe even Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club have a much better chance of winning Best Supporting Actor this year. Maybe even Bradley Cooper for American Hustle. Funny how you hardly hear anything about these performances, but every day there's another article about how amazing and unforgettable Jake's performance was in Prisoners.

Florida Tom said...

Right now I still don't see any Oscar buzz for Jake. We will have to see if that changes over the next couple weeks.

Florida Tom said...

Well Just saw Jake's name in a possible list for supporting for an Oscar. The three favorites see to be Harrison Ford, Michael Fassbender and Jared Leto. Believe it or not Leto seems to be the favorite at this point. I still says give it a couple weeks for all the pundits to see this movie and we might see Jake's name start to pop up as Melissa Leo's.

the real m said...

Sounds like the Hollywood Reporter award is like the Golden Globes - up for sale to the highest bidder. We're there even any other nominees?

Interesting about Mumford. ENT lawyer had a blind reveal recently about how unhappy his wife Carey is. And she has looked extremely sad. I recognized the look on her face as I had the same look way back during my first marriage.