By TheGayUK, 24-May-2013 14:01:00
by Greg Mitchell | 24th May 2013
It seems the movie was deemed too gay (post Brokeback Mountain, really?) and so, though it is getting a cinema release here in the UK (out on June 7), in the USA, it will only be seen on television.
If I’m honest, the movie does rather betray its origins as a TV movie, albeit a very enjoyable one with high production values and excellent performances.
Production designer Howard Cummings, and set designer Barbara Munch-Cameron went to great pains to ensure the movie looks authentic, and many of the props, the pianos and the cars, are actually ones that Liberace himself owned, found on extensive scavenging trips to various antique dealers and prop buyers; some on loan from the Liberace museum. Liberace’s Las Vegas mansion and Los Angeles penthouse are revealed in all their lavishly over the top, glitzy, rococo splendour and the costumes, by Ellen Mirojnick, are detailed reproductions of ones worn by Liberace and Scott Thorson.
Not wanting to make a traditional biopic, Soderbergh has concentrated on the period spanning the relationship of Liberace and Thorson, adding a short coda that takes in Liberace’s death from AIDS and his funeral, and is mostly based on Thorson’s book “Behind the Candelabra”. During this period, Thorson gained a lot of weight, then lost it again, and both Liberace and Thorson underwent plastic surgery.
Even if one knows little about Liberace, the story is a familiar one, basically a celebrity marriage that goes wrong. The end of Liberace’s relationship with Thorson is already there in the beginning. When Thorson first meets Liberace, we also meet Liberace’s current lover, a relationship that has obviously soured, so it is no surprise when the scene is replicated later in the film, this time with a young dancer taking the Thorson role, and Thorson taking the role of the disgruntled lover. There is no doubt about the love and affection the two men have for each other at the beginning of the relationship, but things take a bizarre turn when Liberace decides he would like to adopt Thorson, and asks Thorson to undergo plastic surgery to make him look more like Liberace’s younger self.
Having settled into domestic bliss, they have both gained weight, and the idea comes to him after Liberace sees himself on TV on the Jonny Carson show, declaring he looks like his father in drag. He enlists the help of Dr Jack Startz, a plastic surgeon and dietician (brilliantly played by Rob Lowe, with a completely immobile face). Quite how the make-up department achieved the amazing before and after transformations I am not sure, but they have done so brilliantly.
Soderbegh’s direction is not always sure footed, and the film drags a little in the middle, which might be less noticeable in the context of a TV movie. He does however get wonderful performances out of his all star cast. Aside from the aforementioned Rob Lowe, there are some great cameos from Dan Ackroyd, Scott Bakula and Debbie Reynolds (remember her?), but the movie succeeds or fails on the work of its two stars, and both Michael Douglas and Matt Damon give faultless performances. Damon is thoroughly believable as the star struck young innocent who gradually descends into drug addiction, and Michael Douglas quite simply gives one of the best performances of his career.
It would have been so easy, and so tempting, to overplay the role and come up with a clownish caricature, but Douglas completely avoids that trap, and comes up with a performance of great subtlety. If the movie had a cinema release in America, he would no doubt be in line for an Oscar. As it is, surely he’ll walk away with the Emmy.
Behind the Candelabra opens on June 7th 2013
Behind the Candelabra
Production year: 2013
Runtime: 118 mins
Directors: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Rob Lowe
By TheGayUK, 24-May-2013 08:26:00
by Paul Szabo | 24th May 2013
The question of what defines someone as a vintage icon is a difficult one, whether it is their looks, their sexuality, their personal life or their work for equal rights. But taking the definition in its widest sense, here are six of the best films which, for various reasons, are perfect examples.
Icon status - Madonna is undeniably a gay icon for many reasons. A long and successful career and a devil may care attitude combine with her longstanding dedication to bringing gay rights to the attention of the public. Whether it is by dressing up as a boy scout, in her song lyrics, in the company she keeps or by expressing her sexuality through her creative output, she has been prominently in the public eye when it comes to issues of equality, HIV and Aids or commenting upon change.
The film – What could be better than Madonna doing what she does best in this film which is, in essence, a two hour music video? But in the expert hands of director, Alan Parker, Madonna gives a career defining performance as Eva Peron, a poor villager who sleeps, manipulates and carefully plots her way to the arms and bed of the Argentinian President, becoming adored by the people and a strong political influence behind the scenes. But all the time, her self-serving ways are never far from her and as the people around her start to realise her motives, a split in the country and the political party starts to appear. Based on the concept album and subsequent stage show by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber, this is a sumptuously filmed movie with a golden globe winning performance from Madonna, who has never been better in an acting role, excellent support from Antonio Banderas and a soundtrack which you just can’t help singing along to.
Further suggested viewing – In Bed with Madonna; I’m Going to Tell You a Secret; A League of Their Own
Gods and Monsters
Icon Status – The outstanding Sir Ian McKellan has appeared in many successful films, been in Coronation Street, played the Dame in pantomime, has performed on stage in the West End, Broadway and worldwide and is an openly gay man who is prominent in his active campaigning for equal rights. He has won numerous awards for his acting career and appeared in blockbusters like the X-Men series and The Lord of the Rings films, but has also done less mainstream films, such as his update of Richard III. Since coming out in 1988, Sir McKellan has often spoken and written about gay issues. He is a co-founder of Stonewall UK. He has had a high level presence at Gay Pride events in London and around the world and states that his most urgent concern is legal and social equality for gay people worldwide. Coupled with that, he is one of the nicest people you could wish to meet and always makes time for people at Pride events. How could this talented and dedicated man fail to make a list of vintage icons?
The Film – Gods and Monsters is the story of James Whale, the gay 1930’s film director, best known for making the Universal Pictures version of Frankenstein. This film follows the latter part of his life, when Whale is a fragile figure, who is physically and emotionally slowly giving up. He reminisces about gay pool parties of his youth and teases a star struck fan that comes to interview him for a magazine. But his new gardener, Clayton Boone, (played by Brendon Frasier) is a young, attractive and muscular straight man and he and Whale strike up an unlikely and, at times, uneasy friendship. Asking his young muse to pose nude for his life drawing, Whale’s obsession with his friend deepens. But to what end? Sir McKellan was nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for his performance in this film, and rightly so. The film oozes class and explores the nature of the relationship between Whale and Boone in a sensitive manner. The film draws you in with its subtlety and culminates in an emotional gut punch. It is the perfect vehicle for demonstrating what an exceptional actor Sir McKellan is.
Further suggested viewing – Walter; Richard III; X-Men; Apt Pupil; The Lord of The Rings.
Icon Status – Cher has been a stalwart of the idolisation of gay men for many years, especially in the USA. Her ability to transform her image and her musical style, coupled with her catchy, camp tunes, her high-spirited stage shows and her daring and non-conformist attitude confirm her icon status. But aside from her ability to not take herself too seriously (her appearance in Will & Grace is evidence of this), her music and her acting career, she is also a strong advocate for gay rights (supporting both the community and the parents of GLBT people) and has publically supported her oldest child, Chaz Bono who stated that he was transgender in 2009.
The Film – Ali Rose, (Christina Aguilera), a young country girl with an extraordinary singing voice, leaves her dead end life in small town rural America and heads to LA to make her fortune. She stumbles across a Burlesque club, run by a good natured and motherly woman called Tess (Cher). Within the amber tinged bar, she finds employment, friendship and a very attractive roommate, Jack Miller (played by the ridiculously handsome Cam Gigandet). Amazed at her remarkable talent, Tess makes her the star of the show. But can the novelty of singing live save the cash strapped club from a hostile takeover and will Jack and Ali ever admit their true feelings for each other? This film is corny and cheesy, but has a charm all of its own. It has a paper thin and highly predictable plot. But that is not the reason to watch this film. The skimpy and seductive costumes coupled with the exuberant and energetic burlesque musical numbers (performed with an almost overdose level of camp), mark the tone of the film. There are two icons for one in here, (both Cher and Aguilera have a huge gay following) and you get a naked Gigandet hiding his modesty under nothing but a packet of cereal. Throw in one of Madonna’s backing dancers and add Cher belting out a power ballad and you have a cheesy campfest which should be watched for what it is, which is just damn good, but terribly corny, camp fun.
Further suggested viewing – Moonstruck; Mask; Mermaids.
Rebel Without A Cause
Icon Status – James Dean has long been considered a gay icon. His rugged, chiselled good looks, his masculinity and his status of the epitome of cool set him apart from other actors of his era. There were questions about his ambivalent approach to sexuality and debates about his sexuality have long been circulated. He is alleged to have slept with both men and women, but whether that was true and if so, whether it was for pleasure or to forward his career will forever remain a mystery. When asked if he was a homosexual, he replied “No, I am not a homosexual, but I am also not going to go through life with one hand tied behind my back”. The Gay Times Readers' Awards have previously cited him as the male gay icon of all time. He is often said to be the epitome of cool and effortlessly projected an image of rebellion, non-conformity and, more importantly, living his life how he wished to live it.
The Film – Dean plays Jim Stark, a 17 year old young man who moves with his family to LA where he runs into difficulties with the local gang, finds love with a beautiful young woman and becomes a father figure to a 15 year old local trouble causer. He is increasingly frustrated by his family who don’t understand him and finds himself drawn into a feud with the local gang leader which results in tragic consequences. The film about confused, middle class adolescents was seen as an antithesis of the films around the time which depicted delinquents in the urban slums. Dean radiates charisma in his role and the film was ground-breaking in its portrayal of the moral decay of American youth.
Further suggested viewing – Giant; East of Eden.
Icon Status – Harvey Milk was the first openly gay politician to be elected into public office in California. Initially, gay rights were not at the forefront of his agenda, but as his time in politics grew, so did his passion for the subject. During his relatively short 11 months in office, he passed a stringent gay rights ordinance for the city of San Francisco (where he lived), using the increasing political and economic power of the Castro District (San Francisco’s gay village) to push through changes. Tragically assassinated in 1978, he remains an icon and martyr in the San Francisco community and has been described as “the most famous and significantly open LGBT politician ever elected in the United States”.
The Film – Starring Sean Penn, the film tells the story of the political career and the tragic end to the life of Harvey Milk. Addressing his movements into politics, detailing his political battles against the limitation of the rights of gay people and his ideals in life, the film was a critical and commercial success. Securing a total of 8 Academy Awards, Penn won an Oscar for best actor in a lead role and the film also won for best original screenplay. Released in 2008, at the time when California were debating Proposal 8, an anti-gay marriage proposal which in some way mirrored the anti-gay rights legislation in Proposal 6 which is addressed in the film itself, it proves that the themes explored from the 70’s are as relevant today as they were then.
Further suggested viewing – The Times of Harvey Milk (a 1984 documentary).
The Colour Purple
Icon Status – Whoopi Goldberg has a cult following in America and is a prominent activist for gay rights. In 2010, Whoopi joined Cyndi Lauper for the launch of the Give A Damn campaign, to raise awareness of LGBT discrimination. She frequently defends the LGBT community on her talk show “The View” and in 1987 spoke at the historic March on Washington for Gay Rights. In 2013, she has been honoured by the Human Rights Campaign as the 2013 recipient of the organization's Ally For Equality Award, which is "given to allies outside the LGBT community who stand up on behalf of equality for all Americans". But she is also an Academy Award winning actress, singer, songwriter, and comedienne and, to top that list off, has appeared in the Absolutely Fabulous special “Gay”.
The Film – Adapted from the novel by Alice Walker, the Colour Purple tells the story of a black woman, Celie, growing up in 1930’s Georgia. Forced into marriage and living under the hand of her tyrannical husband, known as Mister, the film follows her transformation from a shy and awkward youth to empowered and a strong and independent woman. She empowers herself by being surrounded by people who love, support and care for her. She also forms a friendship with, and a deep love for, a beautiful and sultry lounge singer, Shug, and the two women form a bond which allows Celie to realise that she does not have to be the person that she has been told she has to be. This simply stunning film was adapted from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, was directed by Steven Spielberg and was nominated for 11 Academy Awards. This touching and beautiful film is an often forgotten gem.
Further suggested viewing – Ghost; Sister Act; Made In America.
By TheGayUK, 23-May-2013 18:18:00
by Newsdesk | 23rd May 2013
Gok's tweeted about it, Boy George is on the team so to speak and Stephen Fry is a fan. This fearless rowing team from Warwick University have launched a crowdfunding campaign to produce a naked calendar to raise funds for their outreach program to tackle prejudice, bullying and and homophobia throughout schools.
They are looking to raise £5000, it's all for a good cause... dig deep readers
By TheGayUK, 23-May-2013 09:29:00
By Newsdesk | 23rd May 2013
Taking to Twitter last night the homophobic Church WBC posted this picture named ' First Thoughts' to its 14,000 followers, which read: 'Not Blessed, Just Cursed', 'Fags Doom Nations' and 'God Is Your Terrorist'.
The Twitter post was published just hours after a soldier was killed in a suspected terror attack in Woolwich, London. One man who was captured on camera said he had carried out the attack because British soldiers killed Muslims every day. The victim was killed outside army barracks and it is reported he was wearing a Help For Heroes UK t-shirt.
Two men were seen brandishing a meat cleaver and machete, with bloodied hands by shocked witnesses. The attack happened in broad daylight.
Two men were shot by police at the scene and were taken into custody; one man is in hospital in a 'serious' condition.
The outspoken Church WBC has repeatedly gotten itself into hot water over its bigotry and controversial means of picketing, even earning themselves a ban from entering the UK in 2009 and in 2007 were ordered to pay $10.9m after its members cheered a soldier's death as "punishment" for tolerance for gay people in the US.
A petition on the White House's We The People website has gained nearly 360,000 signatures since December. The petition calls to recognise Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group.
See the petiton here
By TheGayUK, 23-May-2013 08:43:00
by Newsdesk | 23rd May 2013
To mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia the pro-gay and awareness campaign, It Gets Better Project, aimed at inspiring young people who are at risk of taking their own lives due to bullying because of their sexual orientation have announced a new partnership in the European country of Moldova.
Seth Levy, Chairman of the Board of Directors told TheGayUK,
‘The It Gets Better Project works globally to share message of hope with LGBT youth and to make things better for them The Project has already had great success through its international efforts in the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and the Caribbean We are now beginning to work in more regions where, at times, the circumstances for LGBT youth are especially challenging and LGBT-focused resources are scarce. Moldova has historically been such a place. We are very excited to have partnered with our local affiliate, Egali, to help improve things for LGBT youth in Moldova.’
The ILGA-Europe Rainbow Map, which reflects the national legal and policy human rights situation in each European country rated Moldova at just 10% just ahead of Armenia and Russia.
Same-sex sexual activity has been legal since 1995, but does not have specific law to protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Moldova is bordered between Ukraine and Romania.
The UK topped the Rainbow Map with 77% towards the respect of human rights and full equality.
Visit the It Gets Better Project at: www.itgetsbetter.org
By TheGayUK, 22-May-2013 13:20:00
by Newsdesk | 22nd May 2013
“The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us’es, the us’es will give up. And if you help elect to the central committee and other offices, more gay people, that gives a green light to all who feel disenfranchised, a green light to move forward. It means hope to a nation that has given up, because if a gay person makes it, the doors are open to everyone.”
Tape recorded, said in the last year of his life.
“All men are created equal. Now matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words. That is what America is about.”
“It takes no compromise to give people their rights…it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.”
“If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”
From a tape recording he made when he predicted his assasination
“All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.”
On the rights of the young
“Hope will never be silent.”
With thanks to Dan Nicoletta for the picture, please visit him at www.dannynicoletta.com
By TheGayUK, 22-May-2013 10:27:00
by Jake Simpson | 22nd May 2013
Harvey Bernard Milk was born in the cold and wet winter of 1930, his birthplace was Woodmere, a small, hard working, middle class, close-knit hamlet in Nassau County in the state of New York.
After graduating in 1951, Milk joined the United States’ Navy, during the Korean War, he served aboard a rescue submarine, the USS Kittiwake – and later transferred to San Diego to serve as a diving instructor. He was discharged from the Navy in 1955.
Harvey Milk could be described as one of life’s wanderers, until he moved to San Francisco he was a teacher, an actuarial statistician, a researcher, and a presidential campaignerm, he worked in investments and for a theatre company.
He was a drifter, moving from California to Texas to New York and back again, without a steady job; eventually Milk with his then partner Scott Smith opened a camera shop on Castro Street in San Francisco with their last $1,000.
He moved from New York City to San Francisco in 1972, amid a mass migration of gay men to the Castro District. The gay’s growing political and economic power ensured that people like Milk could take advance to promote their interests.
Milk ‘s initial reception by the already installed gay political establishment could be described as cold, Jim Foster who had been active in gay politics for ten years resented Milk asking him for endorsement to becoming a City Supervisor, Foster told Milk,
"There's an old saying in the Democratic Party. You don't get to dance unless you put up the chairs. I've never seen you put up the chairs."
Undeterred Milk won the support and endorsement of local gay bars and business owners, who had become disillusioned by the slow moving pace of the already visible gay political movement.
Milk had an inimitable political style; his exuberant speeches and his astute media skills earned him significant press during the 1973 election, however he failed to win.
Although Milk was a newcomer he had shown flair for leadership, he was starting to be taken seriously as a candidate and decided to run again as a City Supervisor and started using his camera store as a centre of activity in the Castro neighbour. The community rallied around Milk and voluntarily helped run his campaigns for him.
This time round Milk came 7th in the election, just one place away from earning a Supervisor seat.
Milk became the first openly gay commissioner in the United States after the newly elected Mayor George Moscone appointed him to the Board of Permit Appeals in 1976 where he worked just 5 weeks in the job before running for the California State Assembly.
Milk was described as a man of mixed temperament and of disorganisation. His campaign volunteer database comprised of just scraps of paper and his campaign manager’s assistant was an 11-year-old girl.
His accounting was erratic, reportedly grabbing fistfuls of cash from his store’s cash register. He was prone to amazing outburst of momentary temper before shouting excitedly about something else. Described as manic, one could not fault the man for his dedication and general good humour.
In 1977 his last campaign to become a City Supervisor, Milk’s showboating, handshaking and manic campaigning tactics won him a position, but with his victory came the distinct threat of assassination. He began to record his thoughts for preservation in case he was killed, stating, "If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door".
As the first openly gay, non-incumbent man is US history his swearing in as City Supervisor made national headlines, giving the gay community a positive visibility that it hadn’t enjoyed before. He started in office sponsoring a civil rights bill that outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation, it was met with no opposition apart from Dan White, who Milk had increasingly bad relations with after Milk switched his vote in supporting a health facility for troubled adolescents be placed in White’s District.
His personal life at the time was one filled with sadness; he had long split with Smith and had begun a relationship with a man 18 years his senior; Jack Lira who hanged himself after being consumed with sadness with the anti-gay campaigns of Anita Bryant and John Brigg.
The John Briggs Initiative known as Proposition 6 would have made the firing of any gay teacher or public school employee who supported gay rights mandatory. Brigg’s stated that gay teachers wanted to recruit and molest children; Milk refuted this with statistics compiled by law enforcement that most paedophiles were identified as heterosexuals.
Brigg’s campaign came off the back of singer Anita Bryant’s Save Our Children campaign in Florida which repealed a law which ended discrimination based on sexual orientation.
During the summer of 1978, gay pride marches found their attendance level rise, with over 250,000 people attending San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Parade. This is where Milk gave an impassioned ‘Hope Speech’
“On this anniversary of Stonewall, I ask my gay sisters and brothers to make the commitment to fight. For themselves, for their freedom, for their country ... We will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets ... We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions. We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I'm going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it. You must come out. Come out to your parents, your relatives.”
Even though Anita Bryant’s campaign had been successful in Florida, Brigg’s initiative failed by more than a million votes. In San Francisco alone 75% voted against the proposition.
On 10th November 1978, Dan White resigned stating that the yearly salary of $9600 was not sufficient to support his family, days later he asked Mayor Moscone for his resignation to be withdrawn, although the Mayor initially agreed, after further consideration and consultation with the other city supervisors, Moscone was persuaded to install someone who represented White’s district which was growing in ethnic diversity.
On 27th November 1978, Harvey Milk would wake for the last time, in his beloved adopted town of Castro.
Half an hour before the press conference in which Mayor Moscone was to announce White’s replacement, White entered City Hall with a gun undetected and made his way to the Mayor’s office. Witnesses recall hearing shouting, between the two men followed by four gunshots.
White had shot Moscone once in the shoulder, once in the chest and twice in the head.
After reloading his gun, White intercepted Milk – an argument ensued, followed by more gunshots as he emptied 5 hollow-point bullets into Harvey Milk’s head and body.
The President of the Board of Supervisors, Dianne Feinstein found Harvey Milk and identified both bodies.
It was Feinstein, who announced to the press,
‘Today San Francisco has experienced a double tragedy of immense proportions. As President of the Board of Supervisors, it is my duty to inform you that both Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk have been shot and killed.’
Milk was 48 and Moscone was 49.
Milk’s legacy is still felt to this day, in the last year of his life, he empowered gay people to be more visible; to help themselves to end the discrimination and violence against them. In his final statement during the taped prediction of his assassination he said,
‘I cannot prevent anyone from getting angry, or mad, or frustrated. I can only hope that they'll turn that anger and frustration and madness into something positive, so that two, three, four, five hundred will step forward, so the gay doctors will come out, the gay lawyers, the gay judges, gay bankers, gay architects ... I hope that every professional gay will say 'enough', come forward and tell everybody, wear a sign, let the world know. Maybe that will help.’
Although his time in politics was relatively short, Milk’s untimely death at the hand of Dan White, ensured that Harvey Milk would forever be held up as one of the most powerful and iconic men of politics the world has ever seen.
With many thanks to Dan Nicoletta for the pictures. Pease visit him at www.dannynicoletta.com
By TheGayUK, 21-May-2013 20:44:00
by Greg Mitchell | 21st May 2013
71 this year she has lived, and is still living a richly fulfilling life, both privately and professionally. Only last year her latest movie, The Guilt Trip, was released and she is about to embark on another world tour, and she is still happily married to her husband of 15 years, James Brolin. Many icons (Judy Garland, Maria Callas, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean) tragically die young. Others (Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli) survive into old age, despite having disastrous private lives, but there are others (Cher and Madonna would be other examples) who somehow manage to take, and retain, control of their own lives. Maybe that is what makes them such icons.
Born in 1942, Streisand’s rise to fame was positively meteoric. Still only 18, she started out singing at various nightclubs in Greenwich Village, and by the time of her final engagements at the Bon Soir in 1962, she already had amassed an enormous (mostly gay) following. Never one to stick to the rules, her set would be a mix of eclectic songs, ranging from Arlen’s “A Sleepin’ Bee” (often her unconventional opener) to her crazy version of “Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf”. She always considered herself an actress who sings, rather than the other way round, and in 1962 she made her Broadway debut in the musical “I Can Get It For You Wholesale” playing the minor role of Miss Marmelstein. Though the show flopped, she garnered great reviews, and around this time she was also signed to Columbia records, with whom she has remained ever since. Even back then Streisand, convinced she would be a star, was only going to be a star on her terms. Her recording contract, unbelievably for a newcomer, gave her complete artistic control over the material she recorded. Her first album gave her the first of her 15 Grammy awards!
Never conventionally pretty, most would have thought her destined for a career in character roles, but she knew that she was leading lady material. Though she was advised to fix her nose, to change her name, she never did, and the only concession she made was dropping the second ‘a’ from her name. Barbara became Barbra. She had a reputation for being difficult even back then, but, it is no doubt her uncompromising belief in herself, that propelled her to stardom. She knew she was different and she was determined to stay different.
In 1964 she appeared on Broadway as Fanny Brice in the musical “Funny Girl”, and the rest, as they say, is history. When the show became a movie, it was a foregone conclusion that Streisand would be its star, not often the case when a Broadway show becomes a movie. In between Broadway and Hollywood she had played Fanny Brice in the West End production of “Funny Girl”, made three TV specials, the first of which, “My Name is Barbra”, won five Emmy Awards, and even became a mother. (She had married her first husband, Elliott Gould, her co-star in “Wholesale”, in 1963). Inevitably, in 1969 she went on to win her first Oscar for “Funny Girl”. There was no stopping her.
According to the Record Industry Association of America, Streisand holds the record for the most top-ten albums of any female recording artist – a total of 32 since 1963. Streisand has the widest span (48 years) between first and latest top-ten albums of any female recording artist. With her 2009 album, “Love Is The Answer”, she became one of the rare artists to achieve number-one albums in five consecutive decades. According to the RIAA, she has released 51 Gold albums, 30 Platinum albums, and 13 Multi-Platinum albums in the United States.
At the height of her fame, Streisand was the highest grossing female star in Hollywood and the only woman in the top ten box office attractions. Her co-stars have included some of the biggest heart throbs in Hollywood, amongst them Robert Redford, Omar Sharif, Ryan O’Neal and James Caan. She was also the first woman ever to produce, direct, script and star in her own movie. Never one to suffer fools gladly, she acquired a reputation for being difficult, a bitch and a ball breaker, though she would always aver that, if she were a man, she would simply have been called tough. A perfectionist, she would go over a scene a hundred times if she thought it wasn’t right, and this no doubt contributed to that reputation, though many of her leading men found her a joy to work with.
She and Elliott Gould split in 1971, and post her marriage, she was romantically linked with many high profile figures including the Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, Don Jonson and Andre Agassi, before finally settling down with James Brolin, to whom she has been married for the past 15 years. Her unconventional looks never seemed a barrier to her attracting some very attractive men.
Stridently political, she is an outspoken supporter of equal civil rights, which include gay rights. In 2007 she helped raise funds in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat Proposition 8 in California. She also has publicly raised $25 million for various organisations, both political and charitable, through her live performances. Her only son, Jason Gould, is gay and she very publicly supported him when he came out. They evidently enjoy a close relationship and, in her most recent tour, he appears on stage with her, singing in duet.
To understand what made so many gay men respond to Streisand in her early years, you really have to listen to some of those early records. Her recording career roughly breaks down into three different periods. In the early stuff, up to around 1969, she sings mostly standard repertoire, songs you might have heard sung by Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald or Julie London, but still puts her own inimitable stamp on them. With the Richard Perry produced “Stoney End” in 1971, she started to sing more contemporary music (she was, after all, only 29), and this change of musical direction broadened her appeal even further. Her most successful album, “Guilty” was a collaboration with Barry Gibb of The BeeGees. In 1985, she returned to her Broadway roots with “The Broadway Album”, which was another massive hit. That said, it marked another change in direction and, in my opinion, none of her subsequent albums has had the impact of her earlier work. They seem to have settled into a more comfortable, middle of the road, easy listening bracket. Her early records may well have been usually found in the “Easy Listening” section of a record store, but listening to Streisand at that time wasn’t always that” easy”. She demands attention. The bitterness with which she spits out the lyrics to such songs as “Free Again” or “Cry Me A River”, the pain and heartache enshrined in her rendition of “My Man”, at the end of the movie of “Funny Girl”, the vocal sparring with Donna Summer in the disco hit “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough”), the way she belts out the Laura Nyro classic “Stoney End”; if you only know Streisand from the stuff she has recorded from the 1990s onwards, then you really need to listen to these classics.
You also need to see the film that made her a superstar, “Funny Girl”. Not far into the film, Streisand sings “I’m The Greatest star”, falteringly at first, then growing in confidence. Believe me, by the time she has finished singing you will have no doubts. Streisand was, still is, and no doubt will be long after she has left us, the greatest star.
By TheGayUK, 21-May-2013 19:03:00
by Newsdesk | 21st May 2013
MPs have again voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. Moments ago the Bill passed its Third Reading vote in the House of Commons by 366 votes to 161 – a majority of 205. The Bill will extend the legal form of marriage to lesbian, gay and bisexual people and permit religious denominations to celebrate such marriages should they wish. It now heads to the House of Lords for debate in June.
In a statement Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said, ‘This evening’s vote shows MPs are on the public’s side, as poll after poll shows a clear majority of people in Britain support equal marriage. Now that the Bill has cleared the Commons without any of the wrecking amendments tabled by opponents, we hope peers will show the same respect to public attitudes.
‘Sadly in recent weeks several peers have expressed deeply unpleasant views about gay people. Stonewall expects one of our toughest fights yet ahead of us. We’ll continue to work tirelessly every day to help secure this final modest measure of legislative equality.’
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill passed its Second Reading with a majority of 225 votes on 5 February. MPs rejected a wrecking amendment - by 375 votes to 70 - during the Bill’s Report Stage in the House of Commons on 20 May.
By TheGayUK, 21-May-2013 16:23:00
by FirespinJay | 21st May 2013
Get out and go to the market. In almost every city around the world there is an outdoor fresh market. In the London, this is the Broadway Market. Start your Saturday with a date at the market with all tastes and cultures that will satisfy any palate or shopping need. You will find the Market between Regent’s Canal and London Fields. There is everything from food, hand crafted items, and clothing. Bring your partner, take in the fresh air, and pick up fresh ingredients for a late picnic at London Fields and a candlelight dinner at home.
A London Fields Picnic
In East London you will find the idyllic London Fields Park situated at the end of the Broadway Market. Historically a pasture, the park is not the hub of activity in East London. You will find a cricket pitch, BMX track, swimming pool, tennis courts, and more. Bring your date here, pack a picnic and plan an activity that you will both enjoy. You are bound to be able to plan a fun, relaxing day with your love interest.
Hackney City Farm
Not every date is required to take place at a club or bar. For a bit of variety during the sunlight hours stop by the Hackney City Farm with your special one. Take a minute to feed the goats and donkeys and watch your partner melt as he cuddles a little bunny in his strong arms. There are weekend courses, classes in pottery and mosaics, or you could become volunteers. This is a great place to honor your need for animals and outdoors and show your variety to your partner.
London Gay Men’s Chorus
Do you have a song in your heart? Then you should join up with the guys at the London Gay Men’s Chorus to express yourself inner Sir Elton John and meet new friends. The choir is one of the largest most active groups for gay men in Europe. The mission is to entertain, educate, and inspire others through music while challenging the preconceptions of homosexuality. If you cannot sing, then sign up for their newsletter and attend their events, you might meet your next date who has the voice of an angel.
If you’re looking for the fun, hip, diverse center of activity and fun, look no further than Soho London for your date. The atmosphere in Soho is contagious, pleasurable, and a must-see for your date. With live entertainment, unique cuisine, a pulsing nightlife, and celebrations like Pride London, this is where you want to spend your time to meet and network with fellow gay Londoner’s and tourist.
Gay Supper Club - The Hope, London
At The Hope, a pop up restaurant, you and your date can attend the Gay Supper Club where you will enjoy a gourmet meal prepared by a world renowned Michelin star chef. This is an intimate setting designed for gay men to get to know each other, network, socialize and make new friends. The event is organised and supported by the Grub Club & Urban Connections group. The aim of this event which will be held on June 19th, 2013 is to bring individuals together to hopefully find their soul mate. This is not speed-dating, each course is taken at a slow comfortable pace but you will rotate thought the restaurant to meet multiple people and intermingle. There is no age limit of dress code, so put this night on your calendar and plan for an impromptu chance to meet your one.
Within London is an inner city known as Vauxhall. This is where you come if you are gay and you want to party all night or through the weekend. This area is filled with bars, taverns, nightclubs, raves and parties. Get out into the night air, and dress up in your sexiest gear, you are bound to meet new likeminded friends at places like The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, The Hoist, Fire, and Barcode Vauxhall. Don’t stop there, there is so much to do in this area, you and your partner could party round the clock all weekend long.
Central Station, Kings Cross
Known as one of the best pubs around, Central Station is known for Sweet Wednesday and diverse clientele that include transvestites and transsexuals. This is a wonderful place to take your partner for a little fun, exploration and ale. Events include cabaret and theme nights and can be found on Wharfdale Road in London.
The Underground Club
Located under Central Station you will find the Underground Club where the specialty of the day is the dark and mysterious. There is always a hopping party crowd and live DJ. One the weekends there is a light show to go with whatever the theme is. The Underground offers a fun place to go after you visit Central Station. So make a night out of this visit.
Hampstead Heath Ponds
Located in North London is the Hampstead Heath Ponds, three large freshwater swimming points that are popular for same sex and mixed couples alike. For centuries people have been coming to the ponds for a relaxing dip in the waters. Take your partner to the ponds and have some wet fun. Let your playful side come out while enjoying an athletic dip.
There you have it a fine selection of cival and naughty places to take your hot date in the capital city perhaps you seduced your partner on the web or indulging in gay chat with hot men by phone on a line heaven forbid just in the real world in the local bar. Well after your great effort on securing your sexy dates time make sure it goes with a real bang and hit up London.
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