Birthday shoutouts! Jensen Ackles (above) is 38, Javier Bardem is 47, Justin Bieber is 22, Kesha is 29, Lupita Nyong’o is 33, Mark Paul Gosselaar is 42, Ron Howard is 62, Roger Daltrey is 72, and Harry Belafonte is 89.
An Ed Kennedy post! Broadway babe Matt Doyle’s Instagram is uncontrollable.
Kid friendly version of Google hit with backlash for blocking terms like “bisexual” and “transgender.”
Andrew Rannells clarifies whether he and Matthew Morrison are married.
Dustin Lance Black says his Sam Smith tweet was a joke: “Feel free to laugh.”
Steve Grand reveals what “douchey gym moments” help him get that buff body.
IN OTHER NEWS
Matt Baume on gay Oscar winners.
Nickelodeon is making a movie version of its 90’s game show Legends Of The Hidden Temple. Here’s one of the worst temple runs, thanks to that goddamn pit of despair.
Vanessa Williams will star in VH1’s drama series Satan’s Sisters, based on the Star Jones “novel” about a daytime chat show.
“The series centers on daytime TV talk show The Lunch Hour and the fireworks that ensue each weekday when the co-hosts discuss life, love, politics and gossip. Williams will play Maxine, the show’s creator and host, a formidable, powerful and decisive woman who fears she’s being put out to pasture.”
Here’s Matthew Mitcham talking about the pressures of being an openly gay athlete, with a panel that also includes Ian Thorpe.
The trouble with Sam Smith.
“When he speaks out about Grindr, we slate him; when he says he wants to be a role-model, we scoff; when he talks about how sexuality shouldn’t be a big deal, we down the tranquillisers with a vat of whisky. Nothing he can do will ever be good enough, mainly because we’re not sure *what* we want him to do except not say stupid things. Or learn that it’s OK not to know stuff. Or indeed speak ever.”
Here’s the Puzzler! “Beach God”
And here’s The Weekly ShoutOUT™. Each week we’re going to focus on one out athlete/performer and feature a daily pic and career timeline. We’ll be showcasing the big names, but also the lesser-known gay and bisexual celebs who deserve more recognition.
This week our 155th ShoutOUT™ is to … Howard Ashman
Howard Ashman and Alan Menken became one of the greatest songwriting duos in history starting in the mid-80’s. After their work on Little Shop Of Horrors, they collaborated on The Little Mermaid, and it was their music that was largely responsible for the success of the Disney animated renaissance, starting with that classic film.
Two songs from the soundtrack, “Kiss The Girl,” and “Under The Sea” were nominated for Oscars, with the latter taking the prize.
The night of the Oscars would turn out to be bittersweet for Howard. On their way back to NYC after the awards, he informed Alan that he was HIV positive.
On Friday I asked what list we should attempt next, and you have spoken! Sit back, and over the next few weeks we’ll have a lot of fun looking at 20 Songs Everyone Knows That Didn’t Hit The Top 40! These are all songs that have become a part of pop culture history, but failed on the chart when they were originally released. Songs that, through inclusion in films, TV, or other medium have managed to withstand the test of time.
Note – We’ll also include a couple of songs that were never actually released a singles, but have also become classics.
At #19 is “Time Of Your Life” by Green Day.
Who knew when they released Dookie that Green Day would go on to win five Grammys, bring a rock opera to the Broadway stage (winning two Tonys) and be inducted into the Rock Hall Of Fame.
One of the songs responsible for that success was 1997’s “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life).” It was the second release from the band’s fifth album Nimrod but was never released as an actual physical single, and thus did not chart on the Hot 100. But it went to become one of the signature songs of the band, and really of the 90’s. It’s become possibly the most requested prom/graduation song over the last 20 years.
Congrats to jordanjyoudan, who guessed that yesterday’s Pixuzzle™ © ® was Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Here’s today’s Pixuzzle™ © ®. Here are characters from a FAMOUS TV SHOW. Can you name it?
And today’s Briefs are brought to you by … Guillermo Angulo
And now something special in the Briefs. I’m happy to present a new undertaking by reader Lion King. Because our comments system is notoriously unreliable, his new list will appear at the end of the Briefs. Take it away LK!
Tom Robinson and one of his songs in particular gave me the fighting spirit necessary to come out and to get involved in gay activism. He’s the guy we’ll be dealing with for the next 3 days.
Tom (born in Cambridge/1950) to middle class parents, realised that he was gay at the age of 13, when he fell in love with another boy at school. Being gay would still be illegal for 4 more years. At 16 he attempted suicide and he was institutionalized for the next 6 years. He then went to London, where he became involved in the emerging gay scene and embraced the politics of gay liberation, which linked gay rights to the wider issues of social justice.
He formed the Tom Robinson Band, which was highly political. In 1977 they released the single “2-4-6-8 Motorway,” which alludes to a gay pick-up between a hitch-hiker and a truck driver (Little young Lady Stardust hitching a ride). It went Top 5.
In February 1978, the band released the live EP Rising Free. The main track was “Glad To Be Gay.” A song originally written for the London gay Pride Parade of 1976. This was the song that I mentioned in the beginning: a sarcastic anthem of protest and empowerment: the first verse begins with “The British Police are the best in the world” and then goes on to list cases of police brutality. The second verse deals with the double standard found in the press: “Pictures of naked young women are fun… There’s no nudes in Gay News our one magazine, but they still find excuses to call it obscene.”
The third verse deals with bullying: “You don’t have to mince or make bitchy remarks to get beaten unconscious and left in the dark.” Finally the fourth and final verse deals with our own apathy and our closeted self-hatred: “Lie to your workmates, lie to your folks, put down the queens and tell anti-queer jokes. Gay Lib’s ridiculous, join their laughter, ’The buggers are legal now, what more are they after?'”
The song, although banned by the BBC, made the Top 20 and has since become a seminal song of the genre. Over the course of his solo career, Tom Robinson has performed the song with its lyrics updated to reflect current events. There have been ten versions officially released.
This version was recorded in Manchester, 1977.
Another great version:
This EP also includes my favorite bromantic song, “Martin.” This version is from 1979:
Their first LP, Power In The Darkness (May 1978), was a kickass political dynamite. It included “Long Hot Summer,” a song about Stonewall:
The title track is a manifesto, which begins with the liberal pov and ends with the pov of the extreme right. A Brechtian writing style, that brings the message home much more effectively.
Finally for today, a song from TRB Two, the band’s second album from 1979. The album is as political as the first. “Black Angel” dealt with a white guy who falls in love with a black guy. The song appropriately came with a fake-gospel chorus. Here it is: