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Jane Lynch to host an 'Uprising of Love' for the LGBT community

Actress Jane Lynch will host Monday night’s Uprising of Love: A Benefit Concert for Global Equality, featuring performances by multiple-Grammy award winners Sting and Patti LuPone, to support the advancement of rights for the worldwide LGBT community.

The concert, which takes place at New York City’s Gershwin Theatre, is written by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black (Milk), directed by Schele Williams, musically directed by Alex Lacamoire, produced by Jayson Raitt, and executive-produced by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) and Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbooks).

Tony-winner Lena Hall, currently starring in the Broadway hit Hedwig and the Angry Inch, will also perform. The rest of the lineup includes stage star Billy Porter (Kinky Boots), Olympian Greg Louganis, country singer Chely Wright, Bollywood celebrity Celina Jaitly, and actors Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews.

Host and LGBT activist Lynch says the event is about “bringing equality to all people — but in particular, LGBT people — all over the world. It’s about love, and there will be a huge uprising at this event!”

The United Nations’ Free & Equal Campaign and the Clinton Global Initiative are partners behind the event, all the proceeds of which will go to the Astraea Foundation’s “Fueling the Frontlines” campaign.

Before 'Scandal,' Guillermo Diaz was a real drag in 'Stonewall'

Fans of Scandal know Guillermo Díaz as torture-addicted Gladiator Huck, who’s been known to lick his colleague-turned-enemy-turned-lover Quinn (Katie Lowes) and do unspeakable things to her in parking garages. Nearly 20 years ago, though, Díaz was an emerging actor who’d just starred opposite Parker Posey in Party Girl and was looking for a breakout gig. Enter Stonewall.

Díaz booked his first leading role as La Miranda, a larger-than-life drag queen (and I’m not just talking about her hair), in Nigel Finch’s fictionalized account of the days leading up to the birth of the modern LGBT rights movement on June 28, 1969. READ FULL STORY

'The Advocate' ranks the best films for LGBT viewers

Yesterday, LGBT news outlet The Advocate put together a list of “The Top 175 Essential Films of All Time for LGBT Viewers.” The exhaustive list is full of game-changing films with LGBT characters, many of which have important places in pop culture. But it’s also rounded out with campy cult classics and gender-bending movies that don’t necessarily have LGBT characters. Some Like it Hot, for instance, was a groundbreaking movie with no gay characters but plenty of cross-dressing.

The list is topped with more recent movies—Brokeback Mountain (2005) caps it at No. 1, with Milk (2008) coming in second—but contains movies from all time periods. There are, of course, a few questionable choices: John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy, about a male prostitute trying to live with a sick friend and his own shame in New York City, is by far the most glaring omission. It won the Best Picture Oscar—the only X-rated film to do so—in 1969 and is largely considered one of the most important LGBT films ever.

The Advocate instead chose another Schlesinger film, Sunday Bloody Sunday—also a fine movie. But it’s all the way down at… 92? Midnight Cowboy would have done better.

As in all lists, there’s room for disagreement on where each movie places. Should La Cage aux Folles (No. 63) really be ranked lower than its English-language remake, The Birdcage (No. 49)? Is The Hours (No. 42) more essential than Mulholland Drive (No. 160)? The editors themselves “reserve the right to amend [the list] for the rest of our lives,” but the current version is certainly worth a read. See The Advocate‘s full list here.

Andrew Rannells, Jonathan Groff, Laura Benanti, and more star in Russia's fake Broadway musical -- VIDEO

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How does a community band together to protest Russia’s anti-gay legislation? A musical, of course.

Dozens of New York stage stars have produced a fake musical that finds Russia’s fictional Broadway community (“The Great Red Way,” as they say) staging a protest show in response to the Russian government stance on homosexual propaganda via theatrical performance. In the U.S., who better to satirize than a group of musical theater actors?

There’s a little something for everyone here: Jonathan Groff and Jeremy Jordan as two ill-fated Olympians, Laura Benanti and Stephanie J. Block as lesbian astronauts, Michael Cerveris as a soliloquizing Putin, and Michael Urie giving his best Chorus Line. Tons of Broadway performers and creatives lent their support to the hilarious fictional musical, directed by John Walton West and composed by Jason Michael Snow — the same guys who brought us last year’s Downton Abbey: The Musical.

But despite the comedy, there’s a real social message here, and the Broadway community (which has never shied away from using art as activism, à la the Prop 8 musical) is the perfect group to tackle the gravely important anti-gay issues that are at the forefront of the conversation as we enter the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Perhaps narrator Rannells (bringing the ushanka back) sums it up best: “If we can help bring joy, inspire, and call people on bullsh–, that’s a night of theater.”

Watch the clip below:
READ FULL STORY

Elton John challenges Russian anti-gay law

Elton John is declaring his support of the Russian people, and he says they still accept him despite that country’s harsh new anti-gay law.

Passed last year, the so-called “gay propaganda” law bans promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations” to minors.

John said Wednesday that he visited Russia in December concerned that the new law would affect how he was treated as “an openly gay foreigner.” He says he received a warm welcome.

But if foreign visitors are unaffected by the law, John says it has legitimized “vicious homophobia” against gay Russians.

John calls the legislation “deeply dangerous” to the gay and lesbian community, and “deeply divisive” to Russian society.

He volunteered to introduce Russian President Vladimir Putin to gay Russians to help promote understanding.

'Scandal,' 'Girls' stars help TV Academy celebrate LGBT characters in primetime

Primetime television has come a long way since 1972, when the ABC sitcom The Corner Bar became the first show on American television to feature a recurring gay character. Last night, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences hosted a panel to honor the many accomplishments of the LGBT community in primetime television since that time and discuss the many steps still needed for complete equality both on and off screen.

The event, “10 Years After The Prime Time Closet — A History of Gays and Lesbians on TV,” was moderated by author Stephan Tropiano, whose book chronicles LGBT characters in television history, but noted that so much had already changed since he first published the book a decade ago and why he had the idea for the event. The panel included Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal), Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black), Wilson Cruz (My So-Called Life), Paul Colichman (CEO, Here Media), Christy Dees (VP Development for Bravo), Andrew Rannells (Girls, The New Normal), Sherri Saum (The Fosters), and Amber Tamblyn (Two and a Half Men) all discussing their personal experiences and the strides already made in the LGBT community in television programming and beyond.
READ FULL STORY

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