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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Mira Says the Nominees Are

Best Actor:

Terrence Howard
David Strathairn
Heath Ledger
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Joaquin Phoenix

Best Actress:

Keira Knightly
Felicity Huffma
Reese Witherspoon
Judi Dench
Joan Allen


Best Film:

Brokeback Mountain
Capote
Crash
Munich
Good Night & Good Luck

Best Supporting Actor:

Paul Giamatti
George Clooney
Matt Dillon
Jake Gyllenhaal
William Hurt

Best Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams
Rachel Weisz
Michelle Williams
Frances McDormand
Catherine Keener

In the Company of Angels ...

... and each other's.

Wendy Wasserstein and Coretta Scott King

Taking A Deep Breath


It may or may not happen: your fondest hopes. The fact that there is a film of the magnitude and depth of Brokeback Mountain out there for consideration makes many things all worthwhile. Go here for more input.

Monday, January 30, 2006

From CNN

Hoffman, considered the favorite for the best-actor Oscar as Capote amid the author's struggles to research and write the true-crime novel "In Cold Blood," had gushing thanks for his "Capote" co-stars.

"It's important to say that actors can't act alone; it's impossible. What we have to do is support each other," Hoffman said. "Actors have to have each others' backs. It's the only way to act well is when you know the other actor has your back, and these actors had my back, and I hope they know I had theirs."

"Brokeback Mountain" has been considered the best-picture front-runner at the Oscars, whose nominations come out Tuesday, with awards presented March 5.

Its loss to "Crash" could prove a speed-bump on the film's path toward becoming the first explicitly gay-themed movie to win a best picture award at the Oscars, but "Brokeback Mountain" has dominated earlier Hollywood honors, so it will likely continue to be considered the favorite.

Mr. Hoffman deserves all the kudos he has received. He is an actor's actor.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Express Yourself


The 2006 Bloggies are happening. Vote for your favourite. We like Andy!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Best Gay Week Ever


from afterelton.com


IT’S BROKEBACK’S WORLD. WE JUST LIVE IN IT
Okay, I’m going to try and nutshell all of this week’s news. As of yesterday, Brokeback’s box office tally is just under $44 million dollars in the US and a little more than $10 million overseas. That means, even before the Oscar nominations have been announced, the movie has officially turned a profit, so put that in your pipes and smoke it wingnuts! Towleroad has a great interview with Brokeback producer James Schamus. And today brings us Oprah’s Brokeback Mountain show with the entire cast, including Jake Gyllenhaal, who flew in from location to make his first promotional appearance with Heath Ledger. No word which of them will be the one to jump up and down on the couch.

Wingnuts cannot be happy about today’s show, as the Oprah seal of approval is so powerful that if the Falwell-Dobson-Robertson Axis-of-Bigotry tried to boycott her, she would smite them with a snap of her fingers.


Oprah's show was a very satisfying experience for Brokeback fans. Oprah was lavish in her praise about the production, the acting and her guests. Good television. The four guests -- Heath, Jake, Ann, and Michele -- class acts all. It was Oprah's show at its best. Go to Oprah's site.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Adrian Paul's Two Movies

From Adrian Paul's website:

2004 - Movie Made For Television- "TIDES OF WAR"

"TIDES OF WAR" is a made for television project executive produced by Paul Colichman and Steve Jarchow with Brian Trenchard Smith as director. Adrian portrayed the role of COMMANDER BURT HABLE, an American attack submarine commander. When an enemy submarine with stealth capabilities attacks his submarine, he loses two of his crew, including his best friend. After a military inquiry, tensions with North Korea come to a head, and he is once again asked to captain the sub and lead it deep into enemy territory on a secret mission. Also cast is Matthew St. Patrick ("Six Feet Under") as COMMANDER STEVEN BARKER and Catherine Dent ("The Shield") as LT. CLAIRE TRIFOLI and Matt Battaglia ("Spanglish") as MALONE. Release has yet to be determined.


U.S.S. Poseidon: Phantom Below
, a submarine thriller in the vein of The Hunt for Red October, stars Adrian as a submarine commander who gets a second chance at bringing down the elusive enemy submarine that shattered his life and nearly destroyed his career. This PG-13 version of the film is slightly shorter than the version that appeared on the here! cable network as Tides of War last year.


These two movies are the exact same except for the scene which features the following capture, thanks to the ever vigilant posters on Datalounge:


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Viva Italia


Anna Teresa Callen (nee Vitacolonna) imparts a great recipe to her culinary students that came from her mother. It’s a custard that has three names depending on the relationship that one has with its creator. Here we are simply calling it:



Crema Raffaella

© Anna Teresa Callen 1985

Anna says, “It is a basic custard which works well as a filling for cakes and can be combined with many other flavours and other ingredients.” It is delicious and practical very much like Italians themselves. Anna adds, “The best pot in which to make this crema is a copper zabaglione pot. You can also use an enameled one.”

It makes 2 cups

4 large egg yolks
¾ cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 strips lemon peel
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. In the pot combine the yolks, sugar and flour. Mix with a wire. Whisk until smooth. Slowly add the milk, stirring until the mixture liquefies. Add the lemon peel.
2. Place the pot over low to medium heat and cook the custard stirring constantly until it starts to condense with a few bubbles appearing at the top. Make sure it doesn’t boil, but let it bubble 2 or 3 times.
3. Remove it from the heart, stir in the vanilla and then turn it into a china bowl and let it cool.
4. For chocolate custard, place 2 tablespoons of cocoa in a bowl. Add a few tablespoons of the hot custard and mix until smooth. Add the remaining custard with a pinch of cinnamon. Mix until smooth.

Signora Raffaella always used a vanilla bean which was added with the lemon peel. When finished the bean was removed, rinsed, and dried in a jar full of sugar – to be reused many times.

This recipe is published here not only to sing the praises of Anna Teresa once again, (reach her for her cooking lessons at 212-929-5640) but also to sing the praises of the delicious and practical Italians.

Living in Italy even in the past was a pleasant experience for a gay man, because homosexuality – although in some cases frowned upon – was not victimized there as it can be in some Anglo-Saxon cultures. By and large it was accepted as part of the landscape if not necessarily shouted from the rooftops.



Recently, it has been noted here that the German Papa Ratzinger has been all over the map about homosexuality and the Roman Church. Last week he tried to intervene in Italian secular life regarding rights for gay couples in Italy.

Let it be said that the pragmatic Italians are nominally Catholic, but tend not to be berserk in their religiosity as evidenced by this recent report by the Associated Press:

More than two-thirds of Italian Catholics are in favour of legal recognition for unmarried couples including same sex unions despite Pope Benedict XVI’s clear disapproval, according to a new survey. Some 68.7% of them agree with proposals to introduce so called PACS contracts similar to those that already exist in … other European countries, said the Eurispes Research Institute. PACS are contracts extending financial advantages to cohabiting couples. The survey also showed evidence that many Catholics in Italy reject the official Catholic stance on sexual mores. The survey found that 65.6% of Italian Catholics say they want to keep the right to divorce. It also emerged that 78% oppose the Church’s ban on communion for divorcees and 60% favour abortion if the mother’s life is in danger.



It’s called civilization.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Good Night and Good Luck

So Begins the Task



And so begins the task
I have dreaded the coming of
For so long
I wait for the sun
To remind my body
It needs restin'

And I must learn to live without you now
I must learn to give only part some how

Camping on the edge
Of your city I wait
Hoping someday
You might
See
Beyond yourself
The shadows on the ceiling
Hard
But not real
Like the bars that cage
You within yourself

And I must learn to live without you now
I must learn to give only part some how
And I must learn to live without you now
As I cannot learn to give only part some how

All of these cages
Must
And shall be set aside
They will only
Keep
Us from the knowing
Actors
And stages
Now fall before the truth
And the love
Shared
Between us
Remains
...Growing

And I must learn to live without you now
As I cannot learn to give only part some how

-- Stephen Stills (Manassas)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mark Aaron James not in drag


Hey,
Tonight's "Undercover" show will be the last one on a
Tuesday. We will begin Thursday shows on Feb. 9th. Tonight's show
will feature the music of Dolly Parton. I will not be in costume.
That disappointment aside, the songs are still amazing. So, stop by
Mr. Denehey's on Carmine @ 7th Ave, Downstairs from 8:30 until 10, or
will that be "9 to 5"?

MAJ

P.S. I will be back at the Rockwood on Tuesday, Feb. 21 for a late
set. I'll keep ya posted.

Changing of the guard?

The results of the Canadian election are interesting.

Conservatives 124 seats - 36.25% (popular vote)
Liberals 103 seats - 30.22%
Bloc Quebecois 51 seats - 10.48%
NDP 29 seats - 17.49%
Independent 1 seat - .52%
Other 0 seats - 5.05%

Voter turn out was around 65%

A majority government requires 155 seats. At dissolution the Liberals held, I believe, 134 seats. So in effect, the Conservatives are in no better position to govern than the Liberals were. They may, in fact, be somewhat worse off, because the opposition is solidly (particularly the NDP and Bloq) to the left. The Conservatives did not pick up the seats they wanted in Atlantic Canada or Ontario, although they did manage about 9 more seats in Quebec.

In order to get legislation passed they will have to depend on consensus, something that Steven Harper indicates he is willing to do, but which many of his more right-wing MP's will bridle at. Social conservatism is unlikely to make many gains in this Parliament, not only because of the strong opposition, but also because several Conservative MP's who were elected in Ontario are more to the left, even supporting gay marriage.

Another interesting factor is the popular vote. The Conservatives did about what was expected, but the Liberals are 3 - 4% above projections.

Will the governement last?

This is where the changing of the guard comes in. Paul Martin has resigned as leader of the Liberals. It will take 12-18 months to replace him, so the Liberals will not be anxious to force an election for that reason, plus they need to rebuild.

On top of that, Canadians are tired of Federal politics. It is likely they would punish any party who moved too soon to start the whole process all over again.

The Parliament will fall apart either when the divisions between the parties become too fractious to make governing untenable or when the Conservatives think they can win again.

The not so Dolce Musto & not Jack Abramoff


... when QUEEN LATIFAH told ISAAC MIZRAHI that she was in love with someone, but wanted to keep the person's identity a secret. That seemed to be hinting at some kind of revelation, but then, when Mizrahi asked who in the crowd she might have a crush on, she heterosexually declared, "George Clooney!" There were so many levels of weirdness to that remark that I'm doing the Felicity Huffman look as we speak.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Canada Votes



CBC and CTV both predict a Conservative minority government

Box Office Mojo


Capitalizing on increased exposure from the Golden Globe awards, Brokeback Mountain galloped into 1,196 venues, up 513 from last weekend, and saw business grow 35 percent to an estimated $7.8 million. The cowboy love story was No. 1 from Tuesday to Thursday, and it had its highest weekend rank yet at No. 5. With $42.1 million in the till, key Oscar nominations and further expansions could propel the picture past $100 million.

The Night Listener


The current buzz is for the The Night Listener based on Armistead Maupin and Terry Anderson's relationship and break-up. It's great that a star of the magnitude of Robin Williams has stepped up once again to play gay, but more interesting is that Bobby Cannavale once again has stepped up to do the same. Maybe he has done that more often than Christian Campbell, maybe not. No matter. Like Jake and Heath he has become "our own." At this point it matters not whither the orientation.
Just ask Mr. Christopher Meloni.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Get Serious



Grey's Anatomy is so bereft of original and creative ideas that it has to rip off ER which ripped off St.Elsewhere?

Stemming the Rose


When Aguirre says to Jack Twist, "Twist, you guys wasn't gettin' paid to leave the dogs baby-sit the sheep while you stemmed the rose," there seemed to be no doubt regarding his allusion. Here in the hallowed halls of Column it seemed that there was a metaphorical rose that needed a metaphorical stem, so, it was not difficult to go from point A to point B.

What is interesting about this phrase is that it comes from Randy Quaid's character in the film, which a small yet pivotal role in Brokeback Mountain. The role is indicative of human alpha male response to two young males having sensual fun with one another. Still it is a great phrase. Other interest lies in the fact that Sunday's New York Post actually acknowledged and discussed it. It was the second of two articles discussing this film in Rupert Murdoch's Post.



Rose That Has No Name by Sara Stewart January 22,2006

Uh ... come again? That line from "Brokeback" spoken by Randy Quaid's gruff rancher in reference to Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal's sheep-tending, has left a lot of moviegoers wondering just what it means to "stem the rose."

Now that the film has picked up three Golden Globes and looks Oscar-bound, it's likely to confound even more people.

The movie's distributor, Focus Features, had no opinion to offer on the term. A query called in to Annie Proulx, author of the original short story, was not returned.

Even those well-versed in gay and/or cowboy lingo have found themselves at a loss. The phrase has spawned a handful of lengthy online debates, such as the one at literary forum languagehat.com
Proulxfan: "Is there confusion about 'stem the rose'? it's a reference to homosexual sex."
Glenn G: " 'Stemming the Rose' is a euphemism for 'struggling against love.' Jack and Ennis were hired to protect the sheep from wolves. i.e., to stem the wolf attacks. Instead, they stemmed the rose - they were battling against homosexual desires."

Language hat
: "I'm sorry, but that's an extremely strained interpretation. I'm sure proulxfan is correct." Others posit that the term refers more to an onanistic practice - a visual suggested by stripping the thorns from the stem of a rose. And a somewhat less jaded reader offered the opinion that perhaps it referred to the practice of pulling a rose's petals off, i.e., wasting time.

One New York author chalks it up to the Wyoming writer's habit of inventing cowboy-ese phrases: "As with so much of Annie Proulx's 'prose,' it probably doesn't exist in real life," says the novelist, who asked not to be named for fear of sparking a literary feud.

"She's not only using a mixed metaphor, she's inventing one: The verb 'to stem' means to stop, dam up. But used with plants, it means to remove the stem, which sounds like the opposite …"



Whatever the definition, we're hoping it catches on as a fun, ambiguous new hipster phrase: "What did you do this weekend?" "Oh, you know, caught a rock show, went to brunch, stemmed the rose."

O, Canada


There has been some mention of the Canadian Liberals trying to taint the Canadian Conservatives with George Bush's influence should they win the upcoming elections via some negative TV adverts. Only time will tell should they win this week. Canada has been a progressive beacon in the Northern part of this hemisphere. One can hope that it will continue its progress and that Canadians will continue to be the North Americans without arrogance.

Our in-house Canuck, Brian had this to say recently about the election:

"Well, at the moment it looks like a Conservative minority, although the last week can be very volatile in Canadian politics. Assuming no slip-ups on their part and that their redneck image is sufficiently glossed over, they will probably form the next government.

It remains to be seen how successful they will be, however. Social conservatism is not popular and the other 3 parties will manage to keep that in line. I would expect, if it is a minority, it will last 18 months to 2 years and them we'll go through this all again.

They will attempt to redefine marriage as between a man and a woman. Depending on the strength of their majority it could pass because there are sufficient numbers of Liberals who agree with them. It's not a confidence item so the government doesn't fall should it fail. They claim they will recognise the marriages that have taken place and will bring in wide-ranging domestic partnership legislation which will essentially be marriage, except in name. The whole thing will work its way back to the Supreme Court anyway and they will probably have to invoke the notwithstanding clause of the Charter of Rights to make it stick."

Other voices here: A good analysis as Brian points out.


Brain adds "...Some of the polls point towards a Conservative majority. But as noted. this last week is always volatile and we won't know until tomorrow night when results start coming in from Ontario which is where they have to make real breakthrough."

Gee, Really?!


Michael Scanlon, who is Abramoff's former partner and has pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe a Congressman, in 2001 told the New Times of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that Abramoff had "a relationship" with the President. "He doesn't have a bat phone or anything, but if he wanted an appointment, he would have one," Scanlon said. Nonsense, say others. A former White House official familiar with some Abramoff requests to the White House said Abramoff had some meetings with Administration officials in 2001 and 2002, but he was later frozen out because aides became suspicious of his funding sources and annoyed that the issues he raised did not mesh with their agenda. A top Republican official said it was clear to him that Abramoff couldn't pick up the phone and reach Bush aides because Abramoff had asked the official to serve as an intermediary.

Time Magazine has more

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Tower Records Lincoln Center

Tower Records at Lincoln Center and Faust Harrison Pianos are pleased to
announce the return of Any Wednesday at Tower for a second season. This series, which celebrates the best in cabaret, Broadway and jazz vocalists, was a great success in 2005, giving the audiences a chance to enjoy some of today's finest singers celebrating the great American songbook for free. And we have an even more exciting list of performers lined up for 2006.

Each performance begins at 6:00 p.m., lasts approximately 30 minutes, and is
followed by a signing/meet-and-greet session with that evening's artist. Tower Records Lincoln Center is located at 66th Street and Broadway, in Manhattan. The performances take place on the lower level in the vocal/jazz department. Seating is limited. As always, there is no charge for the event.

On Febraury 1, 2006, to celebrate the return of Any Wednesday, we are pleased to have Broadway and cabaret star Karen Mason. Ms. Mason's new CD, "Sweetest of Nights" has already received a great deal of praise for its mix of warmth and sassy humor, much like the lady herself. A seven time MAC winner, she has starred on Broadway in Sunset Boulevard, Jerome Robbins Broadway and Torch Song Trilogy. Last year, she won raves for her performance as Dorothy Parker in You Might as Well Live.

On February 8, 2006, one of the hottest new names in the cabaret world, Maude Maggart joins us. Ms. Maggart uses her sweet distinctive voice to celebrate the music of the early 20th Century.


She will be singing the songs of Irving Berlin for us, as she does on her newest album and in her return to the Oak Room at the Algonquin after her highly successful engagement there last year.



On February 15, 2006, Barbara Brussell will bring us the love songs of
Broadway's very romantic, much-married Alan Jay Lerner. Ms Brussell's skill as a singer, actress and story teller, both romantic and impertinent, is a perfect
blend with this material, as her recording Lerner in Love proves. Fresh interpretations of songs from such shows as My Fair Lady, On a Clear Day... and Brigadoon bring out the skill in the famed lyricist.

February 22, 2006 brings us Amanda Green and friends. Ms. Green is a performer and writer who will be presenting an evening of her own work, as featured on her delightful live album, "Put a Little Love in Your Mouth". Among those joining her for this evening of humor and gentle sentiment are Brooks Ashmanskas (The Producers, Gypsy, Songs for a New World, and the Upcoming Martin Short Project), Jonathan Dokuchitz (Hairspray & Tommy) and Tom Kitt, who is Ms. Green's musical director and writing partner.

Contact Bart Greenberg at 212-799-2500 ext.138.

DVD Release


On good authority, the DVD for Brokeback Mountain will be released April 4, 2006.

Come April you can take it home with you. In the meantime the magnificent cinematography is a veritable artistic landscape to be enjoyed on the large screen. It's hoped that houses will show it on the theater screen from time to time for that very reason.


Friday, January 20, 2006

A double pleasure

Any readers who have been around for a while will know that Brokeback Mountain is a favourite on this blog. They may also remember that Chris Meloni is someone we treasure as more than just an actor. So it is in fact a double pleasure to read the following:
"Brokeback Mountain" star Jake Gyllenhaal and director Ang Lee will be honored with the Human Rights Campaign's Equality Award.

Brokeback and "Transamerica" - about a woman born biologically male - have accelerated understanding of LGBT issues Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said in announcing the award to Gyllenhal and Lee.

"These two films have ignited a firestorm of honesty that is sweeping the nation," said Solmonese. "At dinner tables across the country the conversation about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality is being informed with true portrayals of American life".

Also being awarded a HRC Equality Award will be Chris Meloni (NBC's Law and Order: SVU and HBO's Oz). Meloni has been a vocal supporter of the GLBT community by doing such important work as starring in public service announcements for NBC discussing discrimination and violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, Solmones said.

The awards will be handed out at this year's HRC's Greater New York Gala Dinner to take place on February 11th.

The good are indeed rewarded.

Life on the Plantation


Hillary has created a very useful metaphor for the current powers that be. It can be applied to the Executive Branch of government as well. After all the party in power is the beneficiary of the Southern Strategy that took root starting in the 60s but actually can be traced back to Strom Thurmond's run for the White House in 1948. One need look no further than last September and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to get an actual verification of that attitude.

Lest We Forget:

Life will go on but not without the overriding thought that not only will one of the major cities of the United States with a rich culture never be the same, but the US itself will never be the same. The unofficial end of summer marks the unofficial end of the Bush Presidency as well as its ascendancy which was based on the false hope of its ability to protect the citizens of this country from terror. Katrina was a natural terror and Ol’ George flunked this test miserably. There is no glory in that for those who do not support him. However, there should not be great surprise. He is carrying on a grand old tradition. Lest we forget Kent State and Mr. Reagan’s ignorance regarding AIDS.

The tragedy of New Orleans definitely puts a new perspective on the Republican Party’s Southern strategy. Lest we forget that these are the same people who stole an election in front of God and everybody in 2000. Lest we forget that this is the same President who refuses to meet with the NAACP Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell and Clarence Thomas notwithstanding. They are certainly not field hands.

Lest we forget the arrogance of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove.
Lest we forget Trent Lott’s front porch.
Lest we forget Rush Limbaugh’s remark about why these people don’t have cars.
Lest we forget Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Jesse Helms, Rumsfeld, Cheney and the myriad of people who participate in the good ol’ boy network.

Was the aftermath of Katrina something that Mr. G.W. Bush planned?
Probably not. Yet it not only indicates how incompetent this administration is when it counts, when it is absolutely necessary for the Federal Government to intervene. Even Ike sent troops to Alabama when it became necessary – to protect black people. It definitely indicates how this administration is thoroughly uncaring when opportunism does not prevail. Cindy Sheehan did a very good job of pointing that out.

Lest we forget. The Christian Right is neither.
Lest we forget. Lynn Cheney called John Kerry a very bad man for bringing up her daughter’s very public lesbianism.
Lest you forget, Mrs. Cheney, your husband, second in command was on vacation while the first in command was doing the same thing. Do you want to talk about very bad men?
Lest we forget, this administration’s Miss Ann was at the theater, while a bona fide tragedy was happening to those of her own race.

If you are not angry that many people have needlessly died because of these very bad people, that can’t be helped, but if you are not the right kind of American, be afraid.

It is almost comforting that France, Germany, Venezuela and Cuba have offered to help.

Life will go on and finally relief will come to the good and the bad in the south. We all have a Southern Strategy. Life will go on in spite of the incompetence of this administration. Lest we forget.

From these pages on September 3, 2005

Lest we forget -- and only slightly off topic -- that the real enemy spoke out yesterday. The enemy that the State has ignored for these past four years.

Just remember.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Heath Baby


“It’s kind of surreal, the level to which this movie has just changed my life. The amount of synchronicity that has come from this one choice, one day, just deciding to do this movie, and now I have just the two most beautiful girls in the world, who I fall deeper and deeper in love with daily."

Read more here

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It's My Party



... interesting this, given the current debate on soon to be confirmed Justice Scalito -- from the Washington Post.

Justices Uphold Oregon Assisted-Suicide Law

In a Blow to Administration, Ruling Paves Way for Other States to Follow Suit

By Charles Lane

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Supreme Court upheld Oregon's law on physician-assisted suicide yesterday, ruling that the Justice Department may not punish doctors who help terminally ill patients end their lives.

By a vote of 6 to 3, the court ruled that Attorney General John D. Ashcroft exceeded his legal authority in 2001 when he threatened to prohibit doctors from prescribing federally controlled drugs if they authorized lethal doses of the medications under the Oregon Death With Dignity Act.



The ruling struck down one of the administration's signature policies regarding what President Bush calls the "culture of life" and lifts the last legal cloud over the state's law, which is unique in the nation. It also frees other states to follow in Oregon's footsteps, unless Congress acts to the contrary.

It is unclear how many states would join Oregon; assisted-suicide initiatives have not fared well in recent years. Still, coming a year after efforts by Republicans in Congress to block the removal of a feeding tube from Terri Schiavo, and after Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. faced questions from the Senate about their views on end-of-life issues, the court's decision could energize the political debate. Roberts dissented from the ruling, joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Conservatives reacted angrily to the ruling. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, a nonprofit litigation group founded by Pat Robertson, called it "a disturbing and dangerous decision that can only lessen the value of protecting human life."

But Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) called it "a significant victory for Oregon's voters," who twice approved the Death With Dignity Act in statewide referendums. Looking ahead to possible Republican efforts to change federal law, Wyden said, "I will fight tooth and nail any congressional attempts to overturn this court ruling."

A Pew Research Center for the People and the Press poll released Jan. 5 found that 46 percent of Americans support a right to assisted suicide while 45 percent oppose it. Assisting suicide is a crime in 44 states, including Maryland, as well as the District. It is a civil offense in Virginia. In three states -- North Carolina, Utah and Wyoming -- the law neither prohibits nor permits assisted suicide. Ohio's Supreme Court has decriminalized assisted suicide, but state regulations do not condone it.

State referendums supporting assisted suicide have failed in California, Maine, Michigan and Washington. A bill failed in Maryland in 1995 and 1996. A law modeled on Oregon's passed two committees in the California Assembly last year but then fizzled from lack of support. An author of the bill, Assemblywoman Patty Berg (D), said she was "very optimistic" that the ruling would help prospects for the bill this year.

The Supreme Court was aware of the strong feelings on both sides -- and portrayed itself as above them.

Although frequently described as a "right to die" case, Gonzales v. Oregon , No. 04-623, was not, strictly speaking, about the constitutional right to end one's own life. The court has already ruled, in 1997, that there is no such right and did not revisit that holding yesterday.

Instead, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy noted in the majority opinion that the question was whether Ashcroft acted in accordance with the Controlled Substances Act when he issued an "interpretive rule" in 2001, declaring that assisting suicide is not a "legitimate medical purpose" for which federally regulated drugs may lawfully be prescribed. Ashcroft's successor, Alberto R. Gonzales, has continued the policy.

Kennedy acknowledged that the case was partly a product of the national debate over end-of-life issues but noted that the "resolution requires an inquiry familiar to the courts: interpreting a federal statute to determine whether Executive action is authorized by, or otherwise consistent with, the enactment."

The answer, Kennedy wrote, was no: Recasting the issue as one of the states' rights to regulate medical practice rather than a patient's right to die, he concluded that Ashcroft had made an overly broad interpretation of the 35-year-old federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Kennedy wrote that the law was meant to stop drug abuse and drug trafficking, not to replace the states' traditional role in deciding what state-licensed doctors can and cannot do within state borders.

"The Government, in the end, maintains that the prescription requirement [of the CSA] delegates to a single Executive officer the power to effect a radical shift of authority from the states to the Federal Government to define general standards of medical practice in every locality," Kennedy wrote. "The text and structure of the CSA show that Congress did not have this far-reaching intent to alter the federal-state balance and the congressional role in maintaining it."

Kennedy was joined by Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

In dissent, Scalia argued that Ashcroft had acted well within his legal powers. "If the term legitimate medical purpose has any meaning, it surely excludes the prescription of drugs to produce death," Scalia wrote.

He was joined by Roberts -- dissenting for the first time on the court -- and Thomas. Thomas wrote separately to argue that the court's ruling was inconsistent with its opinion last year upholding a federal override of California law legalizing the medical use of marijuana.

The Oregon Death With Dignity Act was first adopted by the state's voters in 1994. It permits doctors to prescribe, but not administer, a lethal dose to a terminally ill patient who requests it, provided that the patient is mentally competent.

State voters rejected a challenge to the law in 1997; two efforts to override it in Congress, supported by Ashcroft when he was a senator, failed. President Bill Clinton's attorney general, Janet Reno, declined to act against the law.

From 1997 to 2004, 208 people ended their lives by physician-assisted suicide in Oregon.

After Ashcroft issued his declaration as attorney general, a federal district court in Oregon upheld the law, as did the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. The Bush administration appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed last year to take the case.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mark Aaron James Does Lesbians


Hey,
Well, as you know, I don't pick the nominees for the
"Undercover" shows. Not that I don't love the category for this
week. I just wasn't expecting it when it was called out from the
crowd. I'm very psyched that it won, however, as it allows for some
amazing songs. We will be celebrating the songs of Lesbians. Yes,
lesbians. As expected, there will be songs by Melissa Etheridge,
Indigo Girls and K.D. Lang. I will also include some lesser known
ladies who love ladies, along with those who have been rumored to,
like Joan Armatrading, Jill Sobule, Tracy Chapman and Catie Curtis.
Of course, it will be an enjoyable show for people of all genders and
orientations. I hope you can make it out this Tuesday, to
Mr. Denehey's, on Carmine and 7th Ave, downstairs at 8:30 PM.

MAJ

P.S. Thanks to everyone who came out to the showcase at Rockwood.
You guys packed the place and made me look good. I will definitely
be back there later in the year.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Thank You, Felicity


"I know as actors our job is usually to shed our skins, but I think as people our job is to become who we really are and so I would like to salute the men and women who brave ostracism, alienation and a life lived on the margins to become who they really are," Huffman said.

Golden Globe Awards

The appropriate and notable moments happened when S Epatha Merkerson winning for Lackawana Blues mentioned her menopause and her first lead role at the age 0f 53. George Clooney for his supporting role win inappropriately thanked Jack Abramoff and pointed out the appropriateness of the first and last syllables of his name. How appropriate for the star of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly and sometime director to give the award to Brokeback's director, Ang Lee. Mr. Hoffman and Ms. Huffman for their roles as marginal people in this complicated world where we all live. Both have worked hard and long.

Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press for Brokeback Mountain's Best Dramatic Picture Award.

A Love That Will Never Grow Old


Movie: Brokeback Mountain
Artist: Emmylou Harris
Song: A Love That Will Never Grow Old


Santaolalla/Taupin





Go to sleep, may your sweet dreams come true
Just lay back in my arms for one more night
I've this crazy old notion that calls me sometimes
Saying this one's the love of our lives.

Refrain:
Cause I know a love that will never grow old
And I know a love that will never grow old.

When you wake up the world may have changed
But trust in me, I'll never falter or fail
Just the smile in your eyes, it can light up the night,
And your laughter's like wind in my sails.

(Refrain)

Lean on me, let our hearts beat in time,
Feel strength from the hands that have held you so long.
Who cares where we go on this rutted old road
In a world that may say that we're wrong.

(Refrain)

1968

Was the year of his death. It was the year that George Wallace won the South in the Presidential Election. It was the year that Nixon was elected. The more things change the more they stay the same. The Dream nevertheless lives on.



Al Gore referred to it:
As Dr. King once said, "Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us."


Should Have Been 43


Al Gore delivered an exceptional and potent speech today attacking George Bush’s lawless NSA eavesdropping and describing why this scandal is truly a profound crisis for our country. The speech was reasoned yet still exceptionally impassioned and principled. It clearly highlighted the serious dangers posed by Bush’s law-breaking without being the slightest bit strident or hysterical.

Go here for more.

Obsession For Men, Part 3

Tulsa pastor arrested on lewdness accusation
From the Tulsa NBC Affiliate Channel 2
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- An executive committee member of the Southern Baptist Convention was arrested on a lewdness charge for propositioning a plainclothes policeman outside a hotel, police said.

Lonnie Latham, senior pastor at South Tulsa Baptist Church, was booked into Oklahoma County Jail Tuesday night on a misdemeanor charge of offering to engage in an act of lewdness, police Capt. Jeffrey Becker said. Latham was released on $500 bail Wednesday afternoon.

Latham, who has spoken out against homosexuality, asked the officer to join him in his hotel room for oral sex. Latham was arrested and his 2005 Mercedes automobile was impounded, Becker said.

Calls to Latham at his church were not immediately returned Wednesday.

The arrest took place in the parking lot of the Habana Inn, which is in an area where the public has complained about male prostitutes flagging down cars, Becker said. The plainclothes officers was investigating these complaints.

The lewdness charge carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Latham is one of four Southern Baptist Convention executive committee members from Oklahoma.

He spoke out last year against a measure, ultimately approved by voters, to expand tribal gaming.

He has also spoken out against same-sex marriage and in support of a Southern Baptist Convention directive urging its 42,000 churches to befriend gays and lesbians and try to convince them that they can become heterosexual "if they accept Jesus Christ as their savior and reject their 'sinful, destructive lifestyle."

The Southern Baptist Convention is the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

Jan. 04, 2006

From South Tulsa Baptist Youth Ministries:

"I urge you therefore, brethern, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is. Romans 12:1-2"

Rendering Unto Caesar


Dear Papa Ratzinger, "civil unions" are none of your concern. Please abandon the homuncular theory of sexuality upon which so called Xtian dogma bases its disdain for the human condition. Ah, for the days when the Pope was "the prisoner of the vatican."

On the other hand Jimmy Carter would make a better Pope. He does everything a good Pope should. Can we have the election over?

From the January 17th issue of The Advocate:

"I worship Jesus Christ, who never mentioned homosexuals in any way -- certainly not in a deleterious fashion. I've never looked upon it as a reason to condemn a person."

Mr. Carter also believes what has been espoused here that the government should legalize and acknowledge civil unions for all. Marriage should be sanctified only in a religious context, i.e. a Church.

Not to mention this quote from the New Testament. (1 Corinthians 13)

"... Faith, Hope and Love Remain. the greatest of these is love"


Gay Love is good, because all
love is good.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Obsession For Men, too


Then there are those who are just fine with Mr. Gyllenhaal, who not only has youth and good looks on his side, but a great deal of talent. Odds are he'll be around a lot longer than some. Andy Towle
reported on some of Jake's Acknowledgment this week with exclusive photos. Go to Towleroad to see.

Obsession For Men

Some are Obsessed with Brokeback because it does what a once in a lifetime movie does. What makes for interest are those who don't like it who are obsessed with it, e.g. Mickey Kaus of Slate.

Really, Mick, it's okay if you don't like it. It's okay if you don't like Jake Gyllenhaal. It's okay if you have issues with homosexuality. Closet case homophobes are ubiquitous. Sad, really. It would be very easy to quote Mr. Shakespeare here about protesting too much. So, instead ...

Mr. Klaus, may we suggest one of many worldwide counseling centers. You're a journalist, you'll know where to go.






Saturday, January 14, 2006

Boogaloo Down Broadway

Ilene Kristen the quintessential New Yorker was born in Brooklyn Heights but eventually found herself living on the Upper West Side for some of her formative years. As many an urban child especially of that era she and her sister were given directives regarding which streets could be traveled.

One street that had 100% permission for her young adventures was Broadway, which served as inspiration for the luminous and joyous noise she gave forth in a duet of Boogaloo Down Broadway with Pierce of the Triad last night after her show.

Ilene’s show is full of reminiscences in which she relates to her audience as if they were in her living room. She herself says so. Nonetheless the music is sultry, smooth and funky at one and the same time. Still this smoothness wraps itself around complex and sensitive lyrics in her original material. One difficulty in attending this lovely, talented woman’s shows is that the names of her songs are difficult to remember, because she talks more about the experience of writing them rather than nominating them. There’s nothing at all wrong with that except when the experience needs to be imparted to others. As fortune would have it, her song “Flesh & Blood” is found on the Hurricane Katrina Benefit Recording One Life Many Voices [go here for more info and to hear a sample] that she and her co-stars from One Life to Live have put together.


“Hold on to the earth with your own two hands and never say goodbye” are the lyrics she wrote in response to The World Trade Center tragedy and the loss of her good friend Nancy Addison from Ryan’s Hope. Speaking of inspiration, Ilene sang a Carmen Lundy song “Perfect Stranger” which served as a reminder of that other woman’s great talent. Ms. Kristen gave it her own interpretation inspiring her listeners even further. Ilene Kristen’s fans would do her and themselves a great service in encouraging her to record her moving and intelligent sounds.


Ilene performing at Kamar de los Reyes' Gabriel Project benefit at Prohibition.

Yet Another Neglected Masterpiece


Good Morning Kiss -- Carmen Lundy


Liner Notes

"I hear other, older, singers talk about there not being any young vocalists,” says Carmen Lundy. In the spring of 1983, anybody living in New York City was well aware of the fact that there was a startlingly talented young vocalist in our midst. Gary Giddins, one of the tougher of our jazz critics, wrote a piece in the Village Voice about Carmen Lundy that said it loud and clear: “She’s got it all.” Several weeks later. John S. Wilson, writing in the New York Times, put it this way: “In the five years since Carmen Lundy arrived in New York from Miami she has developed a vocal range, a presence and a sense of direction that have put her in the front rank of contemporary jazz singers.” Giddins ended his piece by writing, “Carmen Lundy is her own woman, and Jazz has been looking for her for a good long while.”

Well, Jazz, here - after an interminable wait - is Carmen Lundy’s debut recording, “Good Morning Kiss, and I won’t use the cliché “it’s been worth waiting for. ”Because, frankly, I’d be happy if there were five or six Carmen Lundy albums on my shelf by now. Still, it’s about time. I won’t go into all the details of why it has taken Carmen Lundy so damn long to record, because she really sums it up very well when she says, “I just wanted to be myself. I didn’t want to have to give up some part of what I did best and what comes naturally to me in order to sell records.” What we have here is not just a debut recording, but a jazz vocal album of a very high order. And an unusual jazz vocal album, because five of the eight tunes herein are originals. Rock stars are expected to write their own albums, jazz singers are expected to record songs by people like Jobim, Porter, and Parish. But a jazz singer with the utter temerity to place five of her own songs cheek-by-jowl with three standards by Jobim, Porter, and Parrish is a jazz singer looking for trouble. Expect no trouble - Carmen Lundy’s songs are durable, memorable compositions. From well-crafted ballads (“Good Morning Kiss,” “Quiet Times”) to sturdy shouters (“Time Is Love,” “Perfect Stranger”), to a combination of the two (“Show Me That You Love Me”), Carmen Lundy’s songwriting abilities should cause as many heads to turn as her elastic vocal ability.

“I think I’m a real romanticizer,” says Carmen Lundy about her songs. “A lot of my tunes are about love - losing it, finding it, having it. I like to choose lyrics where you can imagine as well as hear the obvious. And with romantic themes the imagination is always there.” I wish the rest of these liner notes could be like the ending of The Mystery of Edwin Drood - I’d love you, the reader, to be able to decide what you’d like to read next.

Would you like a Carmen Lundy bio? (She’s the sister of bassist Curtis Lundy, she attended the University of Miami and toured with its Jazz Band, she has been heard singing with the bands of Walter Bishop Jr. and Ray Barretto, she has performed in clubs and at jazz festivals from New York City to Port-of-Spain, Trinidad to Berlin, she has acted in the theatre.) Would you like to read more about the pinpoint rhythm work on the album? (“Harry Whitaker and I have been working together for about four years,” says Carmen, “and we have an excellent rapport. Something about my experience with him is special, magical. He’s very interesting, harmonically, to my ear, because I lean towards a very rich harmonic accompaniment - I like having ninths and sevenths and flat thirteenths and things against my notes. And his timing, rhythmically, for me is really inspiring. Victor Lewis seemed to be the natural drummer for me - he can float in and out of different rhythms and rhythmic concepts very, very easily. And my brother Curtis - well, there’s that brother/sister thing that no one else could give me. And his sound is so rich, his tone is so big.”)

Would you like to read about the fine horn section that comes in like a big band on much of this album - beautifully arranged by Bobby Watson? (“I have a real long relationship with Bobby Watson that goes back to the University of Miami. Some of the songs, like ‘Perfect Stranger,’ really ask for horns and I figured, who’s better than Bobby?” says Carmen. I’d like to point out that there was no doubling here - when this band sounds like a full 17-piece jazz orchestra, it’s a tribute to Bobby Watson’s rich arrangements.) Would you like me to kvell over the album? (This is a hell of an album! This is an excellent album! You’ll want this album in your collection!) Oh, yes, one other thing - Carmen Lundy produced this album, too. “She’s got it all,” wrote Giddins. He wasn’t kidding.

“I’m happy with the album,” says Carmen Lundy, “I think I’ll get more people to take me seriously. The right people, the ones that I’m interested in having know about me, will take me seriously as an artist, and not just as some other singer who’s only going to be here for a little while.” Carmen Lundy, I think, is here to stay: she’s too talented and too determined to fall by the wayside. She’s also part of a jazz tradition - the female vocal diva - a tradition that cries out for new blood. Here it is folks. Oh sure, you’ll hear a bit of Sarah, a taste of Betty, a scintilla of the other Carmen, a breath of Ella, but the only singer Carmen Lundy sounds like is Carmen Lundy. How refreshing.

- Lee Jeske (Original 1985 liner notes)