Category: LGBT

The Human Rights Campaign’s 5th Annual Chefs for Equality

cfe-2016-homepage-1600x900By Kate Kight

Washington, DC (The Hollywood Times) 10/27/16 – Just two weeks before a divisive national election that will greatly impact the future of LGBT rights, one might expect palpable stress at an HRC event. Yet if the DC politicos attending the event were carrying the weight of the election, it dissipated quickly. Chefs for Equality was a moment of unrepentant joy in the midst of election gloom, celebrating the artistry of D.C.’s foodie culture and the strength of D.C.’s LGBT community. Continue reading “The Human Rights Campaign’s 5th Annual Chefs for Equality”

Senator Barbara Boxer received the Vanguard Leadership Award at the 2016 Palm Springs Equality Awards from community leader and philanthropist Barbara Keller.

Chris Schmitt Photography.

On Saturday, October 15, the ballroom at the Riviera Palm Springs was filled with about 500 supporters ready to show the love to Equality California (EQCA,) on the final stop of its annual, five-city Equality Awards tour of gratitude and outreach.

Already in Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles, the Equality Awards had been recognizing the community leaders in those cities and beyond that had been helping advance EQCA’s important work in civil rights, addressing disparities in health and well-being, and for public education and civic engagement. Now, it was Palm Springs’ turn.

The crowd gave a warm welcome to event co-chairs Jackie Thomas & DeeAnn McCoy and Pjetur Sigurdson & Dimitri Bakakos. Thanks to the work of EQCA and many other organizations and individuals in the fight against Prop 8 and for same-sex marriage made law in all 50 states by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015, the couples were able to stand on stage as wife-and-wife and husband-and-husband.

The event emcee, Scott Turner Schofield, the first openly transgender actor to play a major role on daytime TV’s “The Bold and the Beautiful” put his own humorous twist on the fluidity of sexuality and how EQCA is helping us all understand that LGBT rights are an essential part of equal rights for everyone. Highlighting the evening for many in the politically-aware crowd was the video greeting from presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton who encouraged everyone to continue standing firm in the conviction that America is a place where everyone must have a place at the table.

After dinner, local State Farm insurance agent and EQCA supporter Thomas Gleeson introduced the husband-and-husband team of Palm Springs city council member Geoff Kors and Palm Springs Unified School District board member James G. Williamson. They presented the State Farm Good Neighbor Award to Lisa Middleton, whose status as a transgender woman has been little more than a footnote on a lengthy resume of tireless leadership in both the LGBT and broader communities. Her hard work has improved the lives of city residents through the Palm Springs Planning Commission, Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs, the LGBT Community Center of the Desert, and more.

Even though EQCA continues its vital work in helping California enact some of the world’s strongest laws protecting LGBT people, executive director Rick Zbur stressed the need to support EQCA’s continuing work for non-discriminatory civil rights, in creating a fair and just society for all. To help demonstrate its local partnership in Palm Springs, Darrell L. Tucci, chief development officer at Desert AIDS Project and EQCA board member, primed the crowd for continued financial support of EQCA’s work.

Tucci pointed to the important work EQCA has undertaken in recently spearheading three important efforts impacting those living with HIV: the HIV Organ and Tissue Donation Equity Act, the statewide HIV decriminalization effort, and EQCA’s #Take It: I’m PrEP’d, to increase awareness and uptake for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) as a highly-effective tool against the transmission of HIV. Texting their donations in real time, which appeared on-screen to challenge friends, the audience helped to raise more than $300,000 in total for the evening.

A bittersweet moment followed when Kenny Cassady, EQCA director of development and corporate partnerships, introduced the inaugural George Zander Activist Award, to honor George Zander, the veteran political organizer who died in 2015, a month after he and his husband were beaten on leaving a Palm Springs nightclub. Paulina Angel, executive director of the Trans Community Project, read a moving acceptance of the award written byChris Zander on behalf of his late husband, whose energetic leadership in both LGBT and political circles will be greatly missed.

Thunderous applause and another standing ovation followed when two women named Barbara who are both beloved in Palm Springs came to the stage, as Barbara Keller introduced Senator Barbara Boxer who was being honored with the Vanguard Leadership Award. This was a crowd clearly in Boxer’s corner and sad that she will soon retire from the U.S. Senate at the end of her current term, after being a stalwart of equal rights for all Americans since being first elected to Congress in 1982.

Most in the audience know that Barbara and Stewart Boxer are already Palm Springs neighbors, just down the road in Rancho Mirage, where they are sure to continue sharing EQCA’s voice for sanity and equality. When someone in the crowd shouted “Reelection!” Boxer immediately returned with “I’m voting for Kamala Harris!” Already endorsed by EQCA for Boxer’s seat, California attorney general Harris had been the keynote speaker at the Los Angeles Equality Awards on September 17.

While the awards were over, many in the crowd stayed for desert and dancing, as the screens again rolled EQCA’s gratitude to those who helped make the evening possible …

Statewide Sponsors for the Equality Awards in all five cities included AT&T, the Coca-Cola Foundation, Gilead, La Crema, PG&E, Prophet, Sempra Energy, Southwest Airlines, and State Farm. Presenting Sponsors includedBrownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Comcast, and Roberta Conroy. They were joined by Platinum Sponsors Laurie Hasencamp & Mike Lurey and Titanium Sponsors Grace Helen Spearman Charitable Foundation andJeffrey Towns. Gold Sponsors included Burke|Rix Communications, theCity of Palm Springs, Contour Dermatology, Desert AIDS Project, Desert Regional Medical Center, Edison International, The Five Hundred,Frontier Communications, Hon. Geoff Kors & Hon. James G. Williamson,Harold Matzner, Lisa Middleton, Susan McCabe & Antoinette DeVargas,Oranj Palm Vacation Homes, Palm Springs LGBT Center on behalf of David Hood & Greg Sellers, Bill Scheffler & Ann Sheffer, Skinn Cosmetics,Time-Warner Cable, TRIO Restaurant, Union Bank, Gina Warren, andWells Fargo. Silver Sponsors were Avista Audio Visual Rentals, Hollywood Home, Target, and Zynger Event Designs. Media Sponsor was Imagine It! Media.

Host Committee for the 2016 Palm Springs Equality Awards included Jimmy Boegle, Sean Borg, Beth Collins-Burgard, Brad Fuhr, Laurie Hasencamp & Mike Lurey, Barbara & Jerry Keller, Susan McCabe, Andreas Meyer, Lisa Middleton & Cheryl O’Callaghan, Margaret Raven, Ernie Santora, Ann Sheffer & Bill Scheffler, Matthew Thompson, Darrell L. Tucci, and Hon. James G. Williamson.

Table Hosts and Captains included 1st Community Insurance, The Agency, Dimitri Bakakos, Carl Baker, Contempo Lending, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, Lulu California Bistro, Nexus, Brian Rix, Joe Simeone,Thomboy Properties, Laurie & Larry Weitz, Jeffrey Ewell & Alfie Pettit,Charlie McBrearty, Margaret Raven, and Darrell L. Tucci.

For more information or to make a donation to Equality California, visit

Fox Does The Time Warp Again…

2016 FOX SUMMER TCA: THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW: (L-R, Top Row) Cast members Ivy Levan, Staz Nair, Annaleigh Ashford, Ben Vereen, Christina Milian, Reeve Carney, (L-R, Bottom Row) Tim Curry, Ryan McCartan, Victoria Justice and Executive Producers Lou Adler, Kenny Ortega and Gail Berman during THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW panel at the 2016 FOX SUMMER TCA, Monday, Aug. 8 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA. CR: Frank Micelotta/FOX
2016 FOX SUMMER TCA: THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW: (L-R, Top Row) Cast members Ivy Levan, Staz Nair, Annaleigh Ashford, Ben Vereen, Christina Milian, Reeve Carney, (L-R, Bottom Row) Tim Curry, Ryan McCartan, Victoria Justice and Executive Producers Lou Adler, Kenny Ortega and Gail Berman  – FOX SUMMER TCA, Monday, Aug. 8 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA. CR: Frank Micelotta/FOX

The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Fox 

“As you can imagine, when we announced that we were doing this, there was a tremendous backlash from fans… That all loosened up and all became more interesting to them when Tim signed on. His validation and also as an actor just gave them something to look forward to.” Lou Adler

By Valerie Milano

Beverly Hills, CA (The Hollywood Times) 10/21/16 – On Wednesday night, FOX continued its campaign to spin newer, shinier gold by delivering yesteryear’s song and dance to a younger audience. The network’s latest laboratory experiment is The Rocky Horror Picture Show. And like most science experiments, it relies heavily on formula.

The show opens with a longish number that (rather clumsily) tries to weave in a movie house audience that will be watching the show along with the TV audience. During the 1970’s, The Rocky Horror Picture Show established its brand as an arthouse phenomena, where obsessives across the nation showed up to midnight showings in costume and interacted with the film. Diehard fans of “Rocky” will probably view this attempt at linkage with jaded eyes; while first time “Rocky” viewers will likely scratch their noggins and go…huh?

Laverne Cox (OITNB) adds an industrial strength twist (Cox is a transsexual woman playing the lead role). Her reverence and affinity for the material and Tim Curry’s film portrayal of Dr. Frank-N-Furter is obvious from the get go. She’s got the moves and Tim Curry’s clipped, verbal cadence down to a tee. Elsewhere things begin to wobble. Adam Lambert is woefully miscast as the party crashing biker (Eddie), and many of the musical numbers have a stagy ‘High School Musical’ energy that reveals the cast’s disconnection from the source material. Additionally, Fox’s decision to blunt the original’s sexual pop by swapping out Rocky’s bulging briefs for a pair of PC boxer shorts is lame stream pandering of the worst kind. Missing from Fox’s production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, is the camp appeal; based (in large part) on the film’s original low budget desperation as well as its secret-society appeal. It was the perfect underground classic for an LGBT community still marginalized during the 70’s.   Continue reading “Fox Does The Time Warp Again…”

HRC’s HER Party Coming to Palm Springs on November 13th


her-hrc-jpegMany are calling 2016 The Year of the Woman!  The Human Rights Campaign is throwing a HER party in Palm Springs on Sunday, November 13th from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the Las Palmas neighborhood in Palm Springs.

Entertainment will be provided by comedienne Suzanne Westenhoeffer and singer Jennifer Corday.  Local sponsors will be the following woman-owned businesses: Lynn Hammond (catering) and Studio Kate (decorations and flowers).  The national sponsors will be Women on a Roll, Olivia Travel and Ketel One.

Event tickets are $50.  The cost includes cocktails, appetizers, entertainment and annual or renewal membership in the HRC and supports the work of the HRC Foundation!  Tickets may be purchased online at

All women are invited to attend.  Let’s CELEBRATE!!!

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) believes that women, including transgender women, straight allies, women of color, and women of all economic backgrounds, are key to our success as a civil rights organization and essential to the LGBT movement’s ability to win equality for all.  We also believe that we can and must reflect the diverse communities in which we live and work. Continue reading “HRC’s HER Party Coming to Palm Springs on November 13th”

Poppy’s Queer Comedy in Portland

And Now - More Poppy!
And Now – More Poppy!

By Megan Candrian

Portland, OR (The Hollywood Times) 10/11/16 – Poppy Champlin performed on September 25, 2016 at Dante’s in Portland, OR on a balmy autumn Sunday afternoon. The crowd was modest but loyal. Poppy cut her teeth in comedy decades ago, and the audience seemed to know her history. While there were not a lot of young people in attendance, the group was diverse and supportive. 

Poppy is very skilled in doing impressions such as bird calls, and the audience really appreciated her talent and experience in this area.

Although Poppy seemed used to performing in front of a much more interactive group, she managed her time well, showed enthusiasm, and overall brought smiles to everyone’s faces. She remains a professional in her field, and shows no sign of slowing down.




anita_bryant_playboy_interview__4_photo_credit_paul_steinby Valerie Milano and Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural
Silver Lake, CA (The Hollywood Times) 9/26/16 – ANITA BRYANT’S PLAYBOY INTERVIEW opened for the press at the Cavern Club Celebrity Theater on Friday, September 16th, 2016 for only six performances continuing through October 11th.  Back in Silverlake by popular demand after a Hollywood Fringe Festival run, ABPI chronicles singer Anita Bryant’s “Save Our Children” campaign to repeal gay rights in Dade County, Florida in 1977.
Bryant had a major impact on the gay rights movement less than ten years after the Stonewall Riots.  Her anti-gay actions helped to propel Harvey Milk onto the San Francisco City Council.


2016 Human Rights Campaign National Dinner

By Kate Kight

HRC National Dinner 2011
HRC National Dinner 2016

Washington D.C. (The Hollywood Times) 9/11/16 –

A new sense of urgency filled the vast ballroom at the HRC gala. While the 3,600 attendees came to raise their glasses to the many victories HRC has won, the importance of the upcoming presidential election and the tragedy of Pulse and were never far from anyone’s mind. The presence of Secret Service, who set up secure entrances complete with bomb-sniffing dogs, reinforced the new normal for political and LGBTQ events in 2016. Continue reading “2016 Human Rights Campaign National Dinner”

Television Industry Advocacy Awards: Jill Soloway, Tony Hale & More Kick Off Emmy Weekend Friday, 9/16


creative coalitionHonorees include Jill Soloway, Tony Hale, Michael Kelly, Niecy Nash, Derek Hough, Reid Scott, Dean Norris, Sandra Lee; Hosted by Wendi McLendon-Covey 

Sponsored by BBVA Compass 

Los Angeles, CA (September 2, 2016) – This year’s Emmy nominees Jill Soloway (Transparent), Tony Hale (Veep), Michael Kelly (House of Cards), Niecy Nash (Getting On) and Derek Hough (Dancing with the Stars), are among those being honored at the Television Industry Advocacy Awards that will kick off Emmy weekend on Friday evening, September 16th at the Sunset Tower Hotel in Los Angeles.  Other honorees includeReid Scott (Veep), Dean Norris (Under the Dome), Sandra Lee (Good Morning America), and others TBA. Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs) will host the evening’s ceremony.  Continue reading “Television Industry Advocacy Awards: Jill Soloway, Tony Hale & More Kick Off Emmy Weekend Friday, 9/16”

‘SEE YOURSELF’ contest – Public Voting Now Open!

sectionProject Greenlight Digital Studios, Section II, and GLAAD partner for New Filmmaking Contest “See Yourself” asks the independent filmmaker community for project pitches focused on themes relevant to the LGBTQ community

LOS ANGELES (July 11, 2016) – Project Greenlight Digital Studios (PGLDS), Section II and GLAAD have announced their partnership for a new contest called “See Yourself” which aims to improve the poor statistics of LGBTQ presence in television and film. Continue reading “‘SEE YOURSELF’ contest – Public Voting Now Open!”



Los Angeles, CA (August 31, 2016) – The Los Angeles LGBT Center announced today that actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita, and Olympic swimmer Amini Fonua will be honored at its 47thAnniversary Gala Vanguard Awards benefit on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the glamorous HBO party pavilion on the grounds of the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.  Olympian Greg Louganis will present the award to Fonua. Special guests Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy will also perform.

Ferguson currently stars on the award-winning ABC comedy Modern Family, for which he has received five Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Mikita is a longtime LGBT activist, attorney and co-founder of a bedding company (Thread Experiment) that donates high-quality linens for the homeless youth who sleep on the Center’s 50 beds, and is one of the top 50 fundraisers on this year’s AIDS/LifeCycle benefit for the Center and SF AIDS Foundation. Together in 2012 the couple founded Tie the Knot which offers limited edition bow ties and benefits organizations fighting for LGBT civil rights. Tie The Knot has raised more than $500,000 which has been donated to various LGBT organizations. Continue reading “JESSE TYLER FERGUSON, JUSTIN MIKITA, OLYMPIAN AMINI FONUA TO BE HONORED AT LOS ANGELES LGBT CENTER’S ANNIVERSARY GALA VANGUARD AWARDS ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24”

Win a trip to meet Hannah Hart at GLAAD Gala San Francisco

You and a friend could be on your way to San Francisco.


Atlanta-filmed 'Greenleaf' wraps up hit first season with LGBT storylines aplenty
Atlanta-filmed ‘Greenleaf’ wraps up hit first season with LGBT storylines aplenty

Mavis (Oprah Winfrey) and Lady Mae (Lynn Whitfield) Face Off in the Season Finale

Los Angeles – The season finale of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s hit drama series “Greenleaf” airs on Wednesday, August 31 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, featuring the return of Oprah Winfrey in her recurring role as Mavis McCready.

For clips of Wednesday’s season finale, click here (with embed code): 

Clip #1: What the Bishop Was Like Before Grace Was Born Continue reading “SEASON FINALE OF OWN’S HIT SERIES ‘GREENLEAF’ AIRS WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31”

Equal Means Equal!–

Kamala Lopez, Patricia Arquette, (Photo: THT)
Kamala Lopez, Patricia Arquette, Nicolette Sheridan (Photo: THT)

by Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural & Valerie Milano

Milano interviewing, with other reporters, Gloria Allred (Photo: THT)
Milano interviewing, with other reporters, Gloria Allred (Photo: THT)

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 8/29/16 – On August 26th, 1920 the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution granting women the right to vote was certified as law.  The amendment was first introduced many years earlier in 1878.

Every U.S. President has published a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day since 1972, the year after legislation was first introduced in Congress by Bella Abzug.  This resolution was passed in 1971 designating August 26th of each year as Women’s Equality Day.

But are U.S. women really equal?  Director Kamala Lopez examines this controversial question in her documentary EQUAL MEANS EQUAL, which screened on the evening of Friday, August 26th, 2016 at Laemmle’s Music Hall Theatre located at 9036 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

The unrated one hour and thirty-three-minute film was preceded by an all-star red carpet graced by actress Nicolette Sheridan and followed by a panel discussion to promote Women’s Equality Day.  Director Kamala Lopez and Executive Producer Patricia Arquette were front and center on the red carpet to discuss the film.

“This is the civics class we’re never given in school,” said Patricia Arquette at the panel discussion, which also included Kamala Lopez and Gloria Allred among others.  Allred is a lawyer known for taking on high-profile women’s rights cases who was born in Philadelphia and received degrees from the University of

Bamby Salcedo is the founder of the Los Angeles-based TransLatin@ Coalition, which according to its website "is an organization form[ed] by Trans Latin@ immigrant leaders who have come together (Photo: THT)
Bamby Salcedo is the founder of the Los Angeles-based TransLatin@ Coalition, which according to its website “is an organization form[ed] by Trans Latin@ immigrant leaders who have come together (Photo: THT)
Pennsylvania, New York University, and Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.  Noted Hispanic playwright and human rights activist Josefina Lopez (REAL WOMEN DON’T HAVE CURVES) was on hand to moderate.

Milano interviewing, with our reporters, Nicolette Sheridan (Photo: THT)
Milano interviewing, with other reporters, Nicolette Sheridan (Photo: THT)

Arquette, 48, used her 2015 Oscar acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress (BOYHOOD) as an opportunity to champion women’s rights in America.  “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights.  It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America!”

In EQUAL MEANS EQUAL Kamala Lopez uncovers how outdated and discriminatory attitudes inform and influence seemingly disparate issues such as workplace harassment to domestic violence, rape and sexual assault to the foster care system, and the healthcare conglomerate to the judicial system.  Along the way, she reveals the inadequacy of present laws to protect women.

“I found laws that are incomplete, insufficient, and in some cases actually deleterious to the women they are supposed to be helping,” Lopez says in her Director’s Statement on the film’s official website.  “What are noticeably and shockingly absent are the basic explicit human and civil rights protections that men are afforded by the Constitution.”

For the complete statement and more information, please visit

Kamala Lopez and Gloria Allred (Photo: THT)
Kamala Lopez and Gloria Allred (Photo: THT)

In unflinching detail Lopez illustrates how the American system repeatedly fails women in their dual roles as underpaid wage earners and underserved mothers.  Possible solutions to “The War on Women” are presented in the form of the national Equal Rights Amendment and the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.  However, the United States is still far from adopting either of these.

Perhaps the most definitive statement on gender relations in the film came from Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Gloria Steinem, the world-famous publisher of MS. Magazine.  “We are linked, not ranked,” said Steinem.

THT prefers to keep the present article relatively short as EQUAL MEANS EQUAL will become available for house party screenings on Tuesday, September 6th, 2016.  Please see this fact-laden film for yourself and let it spur you to action during the two months remaining before the 2016 Presidential election!  Failure IS impossible.

Colton Haynes, Star of Teen Wolf and Arrow, to Receive HRC Visibility Award at HRC Seattle Gala

Colton Haynes will get the Visibility Award on Saturday
Colton Haynes will get the Visibility Award on Saturday

Colton Haynes, Star of Teen Wolf and Arrow, to Receive HRC Visibility Award at 17th Annual HRC Seattle Gala

WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, announced that Colton Haynes will be honored with the HRC Visibility Award at the 17th Annual HRC Seattle Gala and Auction. The event which is set to take place tomorrow, Saturday, August 27, 2016, at the Seattle Sheraton, raises crucial funds in the fight for full LGBTQ equality.

“Colton Haynes has inspired countless LGBTQ young people across the country and around the world to live their lives as their authentic selves,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “By simply being open about who he is, Haynes is helping to break down barriers and tear down closet doors. We are pleased he will be joining us at the 17th Annual HRC Seattle Gala, and we are proud to honor him with the HRC Visibility Award.” Continue reading “Colton Haynes, Star of Teen Wolf and Arrow, to Receive HRC Visibility Award at HRC Seattle Gala”

Demian Gregory Launches Aristocracy Group in London and Los Angeles–

aristocracyby Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 8/23/16 – Film financier Demian Gregory is pleased to announce the launch of Aristocracy Group, a consortium of media companies specializing in production and financing of filmed entertainment.  With offices in London and Los Angeles, Aristocracy finances and produces an impressive slate of up to six commercially driven feature films per year with budgets ranging from $6M to $30M USD.
Financing is provided in the form of equity investments, senior and junior debt, and incorporating mezzanine as well as short-term lending for pre-production and development.  “Aristocracy has been structured to become an empowering force fueling the entertainment industry,” said Gregory.

Continue reading “Demian Gregory Launches Aristocracy Group in London and Los Angeles–”

The final screening of Outfest takes the audience by storm

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 17: Actress Molly Shannon attends the 2016 Outfest Los Angeles Closing Night Gala of 'Other People' at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on July 17, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: David Livingston / Getty Images Entertainment
LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 17: Actress Molly Shannon attends the 2016 Outfest Los Angeles Closing Night Gala of ‘Other People’ at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on July 17, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: David Livingston / Getty Images Entertainment

with Molly Shannon’s flawless performance in Other People.

By: Kim Kennedy

Los Angeles, Ace Hotel Theatre, (The Hollywood Times) 07/17/16 – Chris Kelly took to the stage introducing a star-studded cast of his new feature film, Other People. Haven written for SNL and received high praise from Sundance, the audience was expecting great things on this closing night.  theatre of the Ace hotel, built in 1927, describing it as “an underwater church”.

The audience were just as thrilled a very excited Molly Shannon, (SNL) to witness the screening of Other People at Outfest’s closing night gala. Continue reading “The final screening of Outfest takes the audience by storm”

The Business of Acting a la Outfest–

Matthew Lessall
Matthew Lessall

by Valerie Milano and Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural

West Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 7/18/16 – The SAG-AFTRA National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Committee hosted a Business of Acting panel discussion and interactive workshop during Outfest LA on Saturday, July 16th from noon-2 p.m.  This lively two-hour event took place at the Directors Guild of America headquarters located at 7920 Sunset Boulevard.
Panelists included Matthew Lessall, CSA Co-President  (Trick ‘r Treat, Mortal Kombat) along with Andrew Ahn, Director  (Spa Night); Julia Kim, Casting Director  (But I’m a Cheerleader, Spa Night); Scott Turner Schofield, Actor  (Bold and the Beautiful); Jason Stuart, Actor  (Birth of a Nation); and Patricia Velasquez, Actor  (Liz in September).

Continue reading “The Business of Acting a la Outfest–”


James Franco & Keegan Allen Premiere 'King Cobra' At Outfest 2016!
James Franco & Keegan Allen Premiere ‘King Cobra’ At Outfest 2016!

Special Centerpiece at Outfest 2016

by Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural
West Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 7/18/16 –

This year director Justin Kelly  (I AM MICHAEL) returned to Outfest with KING COBRA, another cinematic offering based upon true events.  The 91-minute film boasts an all-star ensemble cast that includes James Franco, Molly Ringwald, Alicia Silverstone, and Christian Slater.  Disney Channel alum Garrett Clayton plays underage gay adult superstar “Brent Corrigan” (Sean Paul Lockhart) from San Diego, CA.
James Franco is known to LGBT audiences mainly on account of starring opposite Sean Penn in Gus Van Sant’s 2008 film MILK.  Franco plays Harvey Milk’s real-life male lover Scott Smith.
ALICIA SILVERSTONE at King Cobra Premiere at Outfest LFBT Film Festival 07/16/2016
ALICIA SILVERSTONE at King Cobra Premiere at Outfest LFBT Film Festival 07/16/2016

Harvey Milk was San Francisco’s first openly gay supervisor.  Scott Smith helped to manage Milk’s political campaigns.  Their seven-year romantic relationship lasted until 1977, a year before Milk was assassinated by ex-Supervisor Dan White.

Sean Penn won an Oscar for Best Actor and James Franco won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor in these celebrated LGBT roles fromMILK.  Their notoriously explicit scenes togetherincluded many mouth to mouth kisses between the two straight actors.
In 2004 James Franco had been named one ofPEOPLE Magazine’s 50 Hottest Bachelors.  Like Sean Penn he quickly captured LGBT attention after MILKwas released four years later.
“There are lots of other reasons to be interested in gay characters than wanting myself to go out and have sex with guys.  And there are also lots of other aspects of these characters that I’m interested in besides their sexuality,” Franco has said.  “Or, you know what, maybe I’m just gay!”
KING COBRA is based upon the 2012 book COBRA KILLER by Peter A. Conway and Andrew E. Stoner about the gruesome murder of forty-four-year-old gay porn entrepreneur Bryan Kocis in Pennsylvania.  Thus the film possesses just what most porn lacks: a plot replete with intelligence, imagination, and human interest.
Gus Van Sant
Gus Van Sant

James Franco pairs with Keegan Allen and Christian Slater pairs with Garrett Clayton to form two explosive same sex partnerships.  All four straight actors fulfill their demanding LGBT roles with rare bravado and brilliance.

Allen and Clayton fully hold their own in every frame with the older leads.  The blond and boyish Clayton shines brighter and brighter as he nimbly maneuvers through the film’s many twists and turns to emerge triumphant at the very end.
Franco’s dashing dark good looks also keep the high octane heart of KING COBRA smoldering dementedly.  He and partner Allen  (portraying escorts Joseph Kerekes and Harlow Cuadra) finally land at the bottom of a murder conspiracy after a wild roller coaster ride of military service, modeling, hustling, and adult film production fails to pan out for either of them.
2016 Outfest Los Angeles Screening Of "King Cobra" And The Presentation Of The James Schamus Ally Award Featuring: Justin Kelly, James Franco, Gus Van Sant Where: West Hollywood, California, United States When: 17 Jul 2016 Credit: FayesVision/
2016 Outfest Los Angeles Screening Of “King Cobra” And The Presentation Of The James Schamus Ally Award
Featuring: Justin Kelly, James Franco, Gus Van Sant
Where: West Hollywood, California, United States
When: 17 Jul 2016
Credit: FayesVision/

James Franco has already won awards for KING COBRA, which picks up where older films such asAMERICAN GIGOLO  (1980) starring Richard Gere as a sometime LGBT hustler leave off.  Online pornography generates billions in revenue daily and can make boy toys like Brent Corrigan overnight sensations.

Naturally a feature film about online porn contains many graphic sex scenes suitable only for adults.  The artistic quality of these sequences in KING COBRA puts the vast majority of actual online porn productions to shame.
After the film was screened at Outfest, director Justin Kelly said he had tried to probe the WHYS of all the madness and mayhem found in KING COBRA.  And indeed he puts all the seething sex and violence into a context that remains credible from beginning to end.
Actors Garrett Clayton and Keegan Allen were also on stage to congratulate for their breakout performances in KING COBRA.  Both had fully researched their biopic roles and were grateful to have worked so closely with the more established stars.  Allen commented insightfully about the main characters who were all looking for love and trying to figure themselves out in this “comedy of errors.”
kingKING COBRA will be released in October 2016.  All four of the male heartthrobs will no doubt leave audiences wanting to see more of them, though that might not be easy after KING COBRA!