Retake Kickstarter: Fund This

Hey, folks! I’ve been absent of late, because, well, life. But, I have backed the Kickstarter for the new feature film RETAKE and I think you should too. This is another in a string of important independent LGBT voices that need to be heard. Please join me and help them raise about $45,000 to bring this project to fruition.

Nick Corporon is the writer/director/jack-of-all-trades, Sean Mandell produces, Luke Pasqualino and Kit Williamson star. Make sure that these talented folks get a chance to make this film.

Fund Them.

We now return you to radio silence, already in progress.

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Kiss Me, Kill Me, Kickstart Me?

photo-main10/11/14 — National Coming Out Day — This is the perfect day to help make more gay and lesbian representation in the cinema happen. Help to fund this film, a good old-fashioned ‘whodunnit’ with a West Hollywood twist. And, it features some superstar talent: Gale Harold, Van Hansis, Kit Williamson, Jonathan Lisecki, just to name a few. They’ve got just under a month left and about $75,000 to raise. You can make that happen. Here’s the link. Click it!

When Not Shutting Up When You are Told to Shut Up is Important

I’ve run across several articles recently that prove that I am not, in fact, alone in my thinking, mostly in regards to being vocal about being gay. Or bi. Or trans. Or just somehow perceived as different than the majority. At least there are a few people who are talking about these things now. I am always reminded of Dan Savage’s take on America: that we’re always the first to compliment ourselves about being the land of the free and the home of the brave but are always dead last with the actual freedom and the bravery.

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Michael Urie in “Buyer and Cellar.” |Image: Joan Marcus

The first of these articles is a little piece on Michael Urie in FrontiersLA. Urie is bringing the terrific one-man show Buyer and Cellar to Los Angeles after a tremendous run off-Broadway. In this piece, Urie says,

 “When I first started Ugly Betty in 2006, things were very different. I was encouraged to stay in the closet. This was before Neil Patrick Harris had come out. Even though I was playing an openly gay character, we thought we might want to keep the mystery of what I do behind closed doors. But, for me, coming out has only aided my career. It might not be good for everyone, but I have gotten to play so many wonderful roles.”

I find it so disheartening that today an actor would legitimately have to think about coming out because it could possibly damage his career. And, while I 100% get it, I also think that in 2014 you absolutely must say “No, I’m not lying about who I am so that I can be on a TV show.”

No one says you have to lead with it, for God’s sakes, but if someone’s askin,’ I’m tellin.’

Good interview. Michael Urie: Funny Girl Meets Funny Guy in Buyer and Cellar.

[As an aside, I was thinking, “What would noneofyourdamnbusiness-year-old me tell 25-year-old me about the benefits of coming out and working in or around “the business?” If I was 25 years old today, it’s a different answer than when I was actually 25 years old.]

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Matt Fishel. The singer’s refusal to “un-gay” his lyrics prompted him to start his own label. |Image: mattfishel.com

The next piece serves to validate my assumption here (Kit and Van and Cal and Thom and … Cassandra?) that we have barely moved the needle in the entertainment industry in terms of LGBT acceptance in the last three decades.

There has been some press in the U.S. recently about London-based singer Matt Fishel and his terrifically poppy single “Radio Friendly Pop Song,” which tells the artist’s side of my anecdote about “you can’t be gay on the radio.” Hell, I don’t even know that Fishel was even born when that happened to me.

But it’s still happening. Only now, alleges Fishel, artists are being told not to sing about same sex attraction. (Oh, you know it happens every damn day.) Fishel’s song — and his entire canon, actually — is devilishly clever. Steve Grand is doing a lot of the same envelope-pushing stateside.

Here’s the HuffPo article and an embed of Fishel’s video. The Music Industry Doesnt Want You To Hear These Songs Because They Arent Radio-Friendly.

OutSports’ Cyd  Zeigler wrote a great piece on Michael Sam and his acceptance of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY’s. He calls 2014 “the year of Michael Sam” and, in many ways, I agree with him.

Michael Sam and boyfriend Vito Cammasano after the 2014 NFL draft. Sam, the first openly gay man in the draft, was picked up by the St. Louis Rams.

If you truly want to make progress on acceptance in this country, I think you do have to have a sports breakthrough. A baseball or basketball breakthrough is okay, but a football breakthrough, well, that’s where the rubber meets the road. If we can change the dialogue in football — with strong allies such as Brendan Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe leading the initial drive and a well-spoken, humble and talented out player like Michael Sam taking the first watch; things will start changing. Still, says Zeigler,

Everything isn’t suddenly better in sports for gay men like Michael. There is still a wall around conversations and banter. There are still those in sports who oppose men like Michael simply because he’s gay. Two hours before Michael accepted that award on stage, an athlete refused an interview by me because I simply wanted to talk about gay men in his sport. There is still a long way to go. We must do better.

He’s absolutely right about that. Read the whole thing: Michael Sams Courageous Tears Were Real, and So Were Yours | Cyd Zeigler.

Finally, a fiendishly good essay on /Bent from Kit Williamson about how, his words, “fucking hard it is” to crowdfund a web series. In this case, the second season of his show, EastSiders. Alert readers will know that already because I have written a lot about this series over the last year or so.

Kit Williamson flanked by Van Hansis (l) and John Halbach (r) from EastSiders. Williamson writes candidly about crowdfunding the upcoming second season.

And one of the reasons I have done so is that I believe that Kit’s series is one of those projects that does move the acceptance needle a bit. Thus, I find it important. Also, it’s damn good storytelling. It’s good storytelling because it is raw and real and allows all of humanity’s flaws to be shown, just like in this piece.

I was so stressed out that I broke out in hives all over my body.  I gained ten pounds.  My health took a nosedive and I contracted a gum infection— I didn’t even know people got gum infections.  I crashed my car.  Twice.  But through it all I did my best to present an image of success and ease, both on social media and in real life.  I think, in part, I was afraid that people would take me less seriously if they knew just how fucking hard it all was.  It sounds oxymoronic until you consider that I live in LA, land of a million web series, where the majority of people you meet are looking for any opportunity to dismiss you as unworthy of their attention.  But I’m confident enough now in what I’m doing to admit that I sacrificed a lot, I rarely slept, I lived in squalor and I regularly forgot to feed my cat.

Keep a weather eye out for Williamson. He’s the stuff, I guarantee you that.

How I Raised $150,000 on Kickstarter: The Secret Is There Is No Secret |/Bent.

‘EastSiders’ Creator Kit Williamson | Backstage Actor Interviews

‘EastSiders’ Creator Kit Williamson on the Alchemy of Web Series | Backstage Actor Interviews | Acting Tips & Career Advice | Backstage | Backstage.

Good, quick read, in case you missed it — or — ICYMI, as the kiddies annoyingly text. Can’t wait to see what Kit and his merry band do with Season Two.

Kit Williamson and Van Hansis star as Cal and Thom in the new web series "Eastsiders."  Watch at www.eastsiderstv.com

Kit Williamson and Van Hansis star as Cal and Thom in the series “Eastsiders,” the second season of which is now in production.

A Grand Time for Singing

Steve Grand makes Top 10 list of most-funded Kickstarter projects.

When out singer-songwriter Steve Grand announced his Kickstarter a little less than a month ago, I contributed on the first day. I thought to myself, I think this is a good kid; I sure hope he makes it.

I needn’t have worried: he reached his $81,000 goal in 17 hours. As I write this, he has 8 days left on his Kickstarter and he’s at $237,000 and change.

Grand says he’s determined to stay independent and to use the money he raises over and above the costs of production to make sure the need for an openly gay singer, that has been embraced by his fans over the last year or so, feeds into the needs of the mainstream music community as well.

I like him. I like his work. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s cute as hell. If you can, send him a buck or two and let’s see how far he can go.

Interview: Filmmaker Adam Goldman on “Whatever This Is,” “The Outs,” and Crowd-Funding

Interview: Filmmaker Adam Goldman on “Whatever This Is,” “The Outs,” and Making Crowd-Funded Series | Tribeca.

AG: And that allowed us to finish up the show. But with Whatever This Is, you know I talk about this a lot. We don’t purport to take any responsibility for this but if you look for the release schedule for The Outs, it turns pretty clearly with the way that people have evolved the way that they watch television online. And when we started The Outs the first episode is 12 minutes and people said “fuck you, nobody is going to want to watch something that is 12 minutes long online.” And I had to sort of say you know I bet they will if it’s good. And then by our last episode they sort of grew and grew and the last one is 43 minutes and by the time out last episode was out, House of Cards was out and Netflix has been so huge in that arena.

This is a great interview with Adam Goldman and, if you’re interested in this sort of thing, it’s well worth the read.

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(l-r) Hunter Canning, Sasha Winters and Adam Goldman star in the exceptional Web series, The Outs. Winters and Canning are back in front of the camera in the latest Goldman-penned series, Whatever This Is. Photo: Interview/Unusually Fine Photography

What he says above is not sui generis, people absolutely will watch something long online AS LONG AS IT’S GOOD. This nonsense about not watching anything longer than a 2 or 3 minute YouTube video online is lunacy. It flies in the face of all conventional wisdom we know about motion pictures and television viewing. Now, with online viewing patterns changing, we know that not only will someone watch an hour of House of Cards on their laptop, they’ll watch a whole damn season in one sitting!

Anyhow, Goldman and his Rascal Department are possessed of significant talent. I am so looking forward to the next episode(s) of Whatever This Is and am ecstatic that I was able to contribute to this project and help it get off the ground.

“Whatever this is.” — New Web Series from the Creators of “The Outs”

Can’t believe I haven’t talked about this yet, but the latest Web series from The Outs’ Adam Goldman and company has met its rather significant Kickstarter goal. I’m excited about this for several reasons. First, I was one of the Kickstarter contributors and I nudged a couple of other people to contribute as well. Second, The Outs was probably my very favorite Web series of the last several years, even though I was a significant supporter of several others.

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The WTI ensemble consists of several familiar faces for viewers of The Outs, including Tommy Heleringer (second from left), Hunter Canning (second from right) and Sasha Winters (kneeling). Image: Whatever this is. Facebook.

Goldman and company have already proven that theirs is a unique voice and one that has connected with the audience. The gelling of a true ensemble is making their Rascal Department an independent force to be reckoned with. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Here’s a link to the first episode.