Emmy Nods for EastSiders

Congrats to the EastSiders crew for their Daytime Emmy Award nominations. The second series, which debuted in October, was nominated in the new category of Outstanding Digital Drama Series. Van Hansis was nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Digital Drama for his role as Thom. This is his fourth Daytime Emmy nomination, having been a contender three times for his portrayal of Luke Snyder on As The World Turns.

kit

Series creator/director/producer/co-star Kit Williamson may have had the best reaction, as evidenced by this Instagram post.

I’m glad that NATAS has seen sense and created the digital drama series categories. As we continue to uncouple “television”  from the “television set,” it’s important that we continue to recognize new ways to deliver content.

75

Van Hansis and Kit Williamson in season two of EastSiders.

The content, though, stays the same. Well, let me reframe that thought. Most “entertainment” on traditional television stinks. Much of the best content is coming fast and furious in new delivery methods — EastSiders on Vimeo, House of Cards on Netflix, Transparent on Amazon — and I think while the death knell for traditional broadcast and cable networks has not yet sounded, the plans for the coffin may be being drawn up.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen EastSiders, what is the matter with you? Watch it now.

Finally, here’s some Daytime Emmy trivia for you. Who was the first daytime performer recognized with an Emmy? That would be All My Children’s Mary Fickett in 1972 in a special daytime category at the primetime Emmys. Fickett played AMC matriarch Ruth Brent Martin for nearly 30 years.

Mary-Fickett-Children_320

Fickett in the early years of All My Children.

However, the first person to take home a daytime statue for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama was Elizabeth Hubbard in 1974 for her portrayal of Dr. Althea Davis on The Doctors. Hubbard won an additional Daytime Emmy in 1976 for portraying First Lady Edith Wilson in an NBC special, but astonishingly — and despite eight additional nominations in the category — she never won for her quarter-century of assaying one of daytime’s greatest roles: Lucinda Walsh on As The World Turns.

Soap04b

Hubbard as Lucinda Walsh, one of the all-time greats.

Hubbard played Van Hansis’ grandmother on ATWT. She’s nominated again this year as Outstanding Actress in a Digital Drama, for her role in Anacostia, the web series co-written and co-produced by Martha Byrne, who played Hubbard’s daughter and Hansis’ mother on As The World Turns.

You can use all that next time you play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon!

Kit Williamson on Slut-Shaming

The creator of EastSiders speaks out about the backlash to his show’s depiction of a gay open relationship.

Source: Gay Men Should Be Ashamed of Slut-Shaming | Advocate.com

Many of the commenters expressed concern about gay men being viewed as promiscuous. If these commenters desire to combat stereotypes, then I’d suggest they start by not contributing to the stereotype that gay men are catty, bitter, backbiting queens. We all share a common struggle, and I believe we have a responsibility to be kinder to each other than society has been to us. Yes, some people are promiscuous — that doesn’t mean their stories are any less worthy of being told.

From the pen of the one-and-only Kit Williamson. As a friend used to say, “There he goes, tellin’ it for the truth.” Read please.

Return to Silver Lake – Long-Awaited Arrival of EastSiders Season 2 Does Not Disappoint

(Sept. 15, 2015) — Well, today’s the day, kiddies: the second season of the award-winning series EastSiders debuts on Vimeo On Demand. The next chapter in Kit Williamson’s saga of love, infidelity and figuring it all out is deeply, darkly funny but also complex and multi-layered. Its twists and turns are unexpected, but it hews true to what you want from a sophomore outing: familiar, yet boldly different. And frankly, that’s harder to do than you might expect.

EASTSIDERS

(rear, l-r) Matthew McKelligon, Willam Belli, Satya Bhabha and Stephen Guarino and (front, l-r) Adam Bucci, Kit Williamson, Van Hansis and John Halbach star in the smart, funny and moving second series of EastSiders.

This season begins with Thom (Van Hansis) and Cal (Kit Williamson) in bed. Strange, you may think. After all, they broke up at the end of season one. The shot then opens wider to reveal someone else in the bed with them. Oh. Well. This is different. And with that establishing moment, we’re off to the races.

Season two opens up new vistas, explores characters in ways that we don’t ordinarily see or, in many cases, that we may have never seen before. In the aftermath of the infidelities that broke them up, Cal and Thom still find themselves drawn to one another even as they find their lives changing — “inexorably” is the qualifying adverb that Cal uses multiple times — and they begin to date again. But, more willing to push the boundaries of a “traditional” relationship than they were previously, they begin to experiment.

“I wanted to break open the love triangle,” said writer/director/star Williamson. “Jealousy is only interesting to a point. What happens when it’s removed from the equation?”

maxresdefault

Adam Bucci as Trevor, Matthew McKelligon as Jeremy and Satya Bhabha as Jarred assist creator Kit Williamson in his quest to “break open the love triangle” as Thom and Cal explore new sexual horizons in season two.

As Thom and Cal attempt to navigate the unwritten rules of morning-after protocol post-first threesome — a shower? a hot breakfast? — we find the man who was the catalyst for Thom and Cal’s breakup, Jeremy (Matthew McKelligon), having a new fling and Ian (John Halbach), who has just broken up with “Krazy Kathy,” drowning his sorrows in whiskey and eggs — and an unexpected liaison — at brunch.

The first episode also introduces us to a few of the key characters who add substance to the second season, including Cal’s sister Hillary, whose introductory scenes are played in hilarious fashion, almost as a delicately rendered but slightly unhinged aria, by Brianna Brown and Thom’s new co-worker Jarred, played with a nice, light touch by Satya Bhabha.

Adhering to the same non-linear track that worked so well in the first season, the second episode of this season takes us back a day and shows us how we arrived at the events seen in episode one. Kathy (the magnificent Constance Wu) is back just long enough for her and Ian to end things before leaving on the non-Equity tour of Cats. “It’s a really great opportunity.” (This may not be terribly funny to you, but to anyone who has ever spent any time in the theatre, it’s hilarious!) Party promoter Quincy (Stephen Guarino), who threw the Mayan Apocalypse party in season one, has a more substantial role here alongside the indescribable wonder that is Willam Belli as Douglas.

It’s in this episode that you begin to see Williamson’s masterful plotting begin to take shape as unexpected threads are pulled and the tapestry begins to take a more complex and quite unanticipated shape. It’s all clever enough to leave you eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Screen-Shot-2015-08-25-at-12.17.49-PM.png

The central focus of EastSiders is on Kit Williamson as Cal and Van Hansis as Thom, who show us just how well they have mastered their craft in the second season of this witty and boundary-pushing dark comedy.

And the fun really begins here. It’s a lighter feeling throughout as this part of the story is advanced through a series of sexual encounters that are adroitly edited together, revealing the pitfalls, trepidations and revelations that come with this type of experimentation. Jarred — not only a waiter but also a sex therapist-in-training — weaves into and out of the narrative (and the bed) like an adorable ‘sex Yoda’ as Cal and Thom set out to sleep their way through Silver Lake, actions which seem at odds with Cal’s prior declaration that “life is not a gay porn.”

Meanwhile, Guarino and Belli perform a completely demented comic double act and Jonny McGovern’s hilariously deadpan cameo is a laugh-out-loud highlight. More threads are subtly pulled and the first half of the season ends tenderly with a warm, loving scene between Cal and Thom.

EastSiders never fails to astonish. There is a mastery of character and story arc here that you simply don’t expect. And even more astonishing, no one ever hits anything approaching a wrong note: every scene rings bell-clear, every intention is realized, every mark is hit. Also, in almost every indie production, you expect there to be at least one actor — you know, that last-second third-replacement who agreed to work for a $5 footlong and a bus pass — who really should be thinking about other career options; but not so here.

In fact, if anything, Williamson and Hansis are playing at an even higher level than they were in season one. Hansis, in particular, seems completely effortless and effervescent in his portrayal. Thom is on a high thus far in the series and watching Hansis assay this role is a sheer and utter delight and Williamson matches him note for note in an ovation-worthy pas de deux.

Look, I know that sounds like a lot of over-the-top folderol, but it’s really not. I defy you to disagree with me once you’ve seen it.

As for Williamson, well, the world is that boy’s oyster. It’s one thing to be a good actor. Or a smart writer. Or an inventive director. But to be all three? And a producer, to boot? I’m so excited to see what he does over the next 20 or so years. Whatever it is, I have absolutely no doubt that he’ll show all of us up.

Raising money through Kickstarter, Williamson has said, has allowed him to “make the show exactly how I had envisioned it. Crowd-funding is a game changer for stories like ours that don’t often receive traditional financing from studios and TV networks.” And it shows. The authenticity of the story is here in a way that you seldom, if ever, see in something sanitized or whitewashed by networks or funders.

As the first episode draws to a close and Thom and Cal have decided to “officially” reunite, Thom says, “I didn’t know what this was going to be.” Cal replies, “I still don’t.” “Then,” asks Thom, “maybe we can figure it out together?” And ultimately, that’s really what the entire show is about: figuring everything out. It’s something we’re all trying to do. Perhaps that’s what we’re all supposed to do. Or at least try to do: grow up, partner up and figure out something that works. For us.

I can’t wait to see what life throws at Thom and Cal next. I hope you can’t either.

EastSiders premieres today exclusively on Vimeo On Demand. Wolfe Video will release the series on DVD and across additional digital platforms beginning Nov. 3. If you need a season one refresher, click here.

PS — For the record, Summer Clearance and Amber Alert are two of the best drag names I’ve ever heard.

Read more about the rest of EastSiders season two here.


10301414_10205247574447932_541920928921958893_nIf you just can’t get enough Van Hansis and Kit Williamson, this Friday, the film Kiss Me, Kill Me has its world premiere at Reeling2015, Chicago’s LGBT film festival. Brianna Brown and Jai Rodriguez from EastSiders also appear alongside Hansis, WIlliamson and Queer as Folk’s Gale Harold in this Casper Andreas-directed, David Michael Barrett-penned murder mystery caper.


A Few Previous Related Postings:
Kit and Van and Cal and Thom and … Cassandra?, May 2014
Why I’m Supporting EastSiders — And Why You Should, Too, April 2014
Kickstart This — EastSiders Needs You, Jan. 2013
EastSiders — New Web Series Worth Watching, Dec. 2012


EastSiders Season 2 is on the Way

Look at this. How can you possibly resist clicking to see what is happening here? You cant.

EastSiders2

Van Hansis and Kit Williamson are back for a second season of the smash hit web series EastSiders. Available Sept. 15 on Vimeo.

Yes friends, Thom and Cal and Ian and Cathy and a veritable pantheon of guest stars are back in the second season of Kit Williamson’s brilliantly sublime web series. The season will be released on Vimeo on September 15. That’s a Tuesday, in case you’re wondering. Or in case, like me, you need to go ahead and schedule that *cough*cough* sick day in advance for your EastSiders binge.

It’s a remarkable trailer. I would say “shockingly good,” but really, nothing that Kit puts together shocks me any longer. I’m just excited to find out what he’s going to wow me with next.

For those not yet in the loop (whaaaat??) or in case you need a refresher, find links Season 1 HERE or on Hulu.

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.

Retake Kickstarter    Facebook    Twitter   Instagram

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.

BuyerCellar024_APPROVED.jpg-resize

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.]

_DSC0399

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.