‘The Outs’ Creator Adam Goldman Talks Queer Storytelling on the Internet

Here’s a good article from Esquire about Adam Goldman and the second season of The Outs. I haven’t written too much about The Outs, even though it is the series that originally got me hooked into the world of web series in 2012.

I found season one deeply satisfying. I found season two perhaps even more satisfying. The characters felt deeper in many ways and, perhaps naively, I was not expecting Jack and Paul (Hunter Canning and Tommy Heleringer) to be the emotional center, the real beating heart, of the series, even though these two were always my favorite characters.

It’s elegantly written, wryly funny, deathly serious and intelligent. Goldman’s intelligence shines through in every scene. It’s worth a watch on Vimeo for that alone. (But Canning and Heleringer are just lovely!)

Source: ‘The Outs’ Creator Adam Goldman Talks Queer Storytelling on the Internet

Where the Beautiful People Go to High School

Back from my moving-across-half-of-the-country sabbatical to bring you a quick check-in on the goings-on at Westfield Prep. And there are a lot of things going on!

For the uninitiated, Westfield Prep and environs is the mythical(?) Southern California setting for the super-soapy teen web drama Youthful Daze.

When Tommy Dinato (Ethan Daniel Corbett) comes back to town, it’s clear that he has a past with Drew Castle (series creator Bryan James), but it’s not until a heated argument turns into a heated make out session do we learn that their history is a romantic one.

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Nothing stays private for too long thanks to the movie studio everyone carries in their hip pocket. Will this restroom snogfest become fodder for the high school gossips or is it Grade-A blackmail material? As they say, tune in tomorrow.

Now, campers, your faithful correspondent, ‘Uncle Grandpa,’ is a bit long in the tooth for angsty teen drama, no matter how cute the angsty teens happen to be, but I was struck by this statement from creator James, “…[Youthful Daze] showcase[s] the straight storylines and the gay ones with no hang ups or discrimination in execution. We are a soap opera that has something for everyone.”

And that’s the way it should be. Besides, every generation needs their angsty teen stories and improbable dramas; it’s how we learn we’re not alone in the world. Take this well-crafted little soap out for a spin, I think you’ll enjoy yourself.

Here’s a preview, and below a link to one of the latest episodes.

http://ww2.webisodesnetwork.com/youthful-daze/videos/1304

Wallflowers – Fresh Meat

Kieran Turner’s Wallflowers is fast becoming one of my favorite web series. Smart and funny are a combo that I find very, very hard to resist. And, if you like that, too,  you should definitely be watching.

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New guy Wade (Daniel Abeles) throws himself on the grenade that is Janice to win a job at Hunter Casting in Wallflowers, now on stage17.tv.

Episode 3 of Season 2 debuted last week and featured plenty of earnest wackiness from Janice (Christianne Tisdale) and the continued pursuit by Martin (Gibson Frazier) of his married and pregnant co-worker. I think this is going to be a sweet — albeit a bit twisted — plot and I’m eager to see what transpires here. It may end up being a complete train wreck for poor Marty, but either way, I’m strangely invested.

Daniel Abeles debuted as Wade, the eager new receptionist at Bryce’s agency. He’s a “fresh piece of lamb,” according to Janice, who announces that it’s quite obvious that he’s gay and “it’s carefree; I like it.” Tisdale owns this little scene and it’s a treat to watch her work, especially playing against such an excellent ensemble.

As I said, everyone is so well-drawn and crispy performed, it’s really hard to find much fault here. Marcia DeBonis, as Bryce’s office manager, Leslie, is dead solid perfect, if underutilized and her line, “You need to be more afraid of me,” is delivered with so many layers, you know it’s the truth!

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John Halbach and Patch Darragh fog up the lens in episode 3 of the second season of Wallflowers.

Alex (EastSiders’ John Halbach) and Bryce (Patch Darragh) button the episode with a short scene that artfully uses a monitor to add depth to the moment. It is awfully damn sexy for being very much a PG scene. Whatever is happening under those end credits?

P.S. — Mad props to Mr. Turner for the episode names.

Catch up on back episodes at Stage 17 and watch this episode below.

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Wallflowers – No Shrinking Violets

Wallflowers Returns for a Second Season — No Shrinking Violets Here

Alert readers will already know that there’s not too much that I like more than discovering a really well written and well-produced show. And I’ve got another one for you: Wallflowers, the charming comedy from Kieran Turner (Jobriath A.D.) that’s just launched its second season on Stage17.tv.

According to the site, Stage17 is a new “digital platform offering captivating original, executive-produced and curated entertainment for the world’s largest stage — the Internet.”

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John Halbach and Patch Darragh in Wallflowers. The second season opener is now available at Stage17.tv.

You’re going to see more of these types of platforms coming online as smart entrepreneurs, producers and, eventually, the mainline ‘creativity oligarchy,’ begin to understand where their audiences are getting entertainment.

As I started watching Wallflowers, I began to think about the title of the show. And, of course, I did what any self-respecting researcher would do: I turned to that specialist bastion of lexicography, urbandictionary.com. (Don’t judge.) UD defined wallflower this way, in part: “…some of the most interesting people if one actually talks to them.”

And that’s a pretty good jumping off point for this series; the central conceit of which is following a fairly tight-knit yet wildly diverse group of people who, for whatever reason, can’t get dates. They are all members of the support group, “Navigating the Relationship Waters in the New Millennium,” sort of an AA for the hopelessly single.

It’s a thesis that could get really old really quickly, but creator Turner is a smart writer, who uses the group meetings sparingly and effectively to advance the narrative. Janice, the group leader, sets the tone and Christianne Tisdale plays her with deadpan hilarity. Janice is doggedly earnest, even when her group members think she may have gone ‘round the bend.

Patch Darragh (Mercy, Boardwalk Empire) is the third actor to take on the central role of Bryce in the short history of the show and I believe he really nails the character in a way that neither of his predecessors (both quite good, by the way) did. Darragh has a marvelous world-weary, overly cynical, screw-you-guys, every cloud has a black lining kind of — what? — ennui, maybe — that just drips beautifully from every line he delivers.

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John Halbach as Alex opposite Patch Darragh as Bryce in the second series of Wallflowers. The duo has their first encounter in a smartly written ‘pas de deux with Marlboros’ in episode 1.

This season, Bryce has a new love interest — after a riotously bad blind date from hell in Season 1 — in the form of piano player Alex, played by EastSiders’ John Halbach.

Halbach plays endearing all-American wide-open genuineness so well that, set against Darragh’s mordant darkness, you know sparks are soon coming.

Their main interaction in the first episode is a short, but important scene where you learn just about everything you need to know about them. It’s adorable. The mating rituals of the smoker.

Bryce fights against his acid edge here while Alex displays the same genuineness that Halbach had playing opposite another caustic love interest (the fantastic Constance Wu) in EastSiders. Smart writing. And the scene follows the old axiom “let picture tell story;” something forgotten by so many. It’s the moment when I definitely decided to come back for the next episode.

I have a clip of this scene that I put in and took out I don’t know how many times. Ultimately, though, I think you need to watch the entire episode to watch it all gel.

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To keep you coming back: more cute boys, less clothes. John Halbach as Alex in an upcoming episode of Wallflowers.

Rounding out the principal cast are Sarah Saltzberg, Gibson Frazier, Jolly Abraham, Susan Louise O’Connor (an out-and-out screaming hoot), Max Crumm and Marcia DeBonis. All are actors with serious theatre chops. I’m sure I’m biased, but I find that’s where most substantial ensemble players come from.

Anyhow, watch it. Turner is a clever one and a deft weaver of all of humanity’s various foibles and failures — and those tiny glimmers of hope that make us get out of bed each day — into a well-turned story. Also, Wallflowers looks lovely; so props to cinematographer Zachary Halberd.

I have a short list — a very short list — of favorite series that I go back to again and again because they never seem to get old. That list has now grown by one.


Something Else:
It turns out that Turner is the man behind a little holiday flick called 24 Nights. I had no idea. You should check it out, as well. It, too, is delightful. Plus, as an added bonus, it features the lovely David Burtka, so young he’s barely out of short pants!

 

The Marriage Equality Map You Need To Know

The Marriage Equality Map You Need To Know.

Interesting map courtesy of BuzzFeed regarding the proliferation of marriage equality cases in the various Federal circuits. We are everywhere, it seems.

Speaking of, do you subscribe to the American Foundation for Equal Rights’ weekly marriage equality updates? You should. It’s a good quick two-to-three minute YouTube digest each week. We should all be keeping up with this. Here’s an embed of the most recent one.

That was the Gay Week That Was

The Week of February 10, 2014 is really one for the history books. The LGBT history books, for sure.

February 10 would have also been my dad’s 84th birthday. I wonder if he would recognize this brave new world?

Red EqualsMy old home, the Commonwealth of Virginia, had its constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage struck down this week. This comes after the new Virginia attorney general determined that he could find no legal foundation, since the Windsor decision, to support upholding the statute, outraging conservatives.

The courts also held this week that Kentucky had to recognize same-sex marriages of Kentuckians who were married in Equality States but who resided in the commonwealth. Now same-sex couples are asking that Kentucky allow same-sex marriages to happen within its borders. So, keep a weather eye out for this; still a developing story.

Also in Nevada, the Silver State’s attorney general said that his state’s constitutional same-sex marriage ban was “no longer defensible.” An about-face from a state where the constitutional restriction was put in place more than a decade ago.

Of course, this comes on the heels of recent decisions in Utah, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

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#52 from Mizzou, Michael Sam comes out. |Image: nbcnews.com

College football’s best defensive end, an odds-on favorite in the upcoming NFL draft, boldly came out this week before the draft. Michael Sam‘s decision set the entire sports world on its ear and prompted lots of conversations about gays in pro sports in places where they normally wouldn’t talk about such things. Good on him.

It also elicited this:

Dale Hansen is my new hero. Other people think so, too, which is how he got a trip here:

The magnificent Ellen Page came out at an HRC event and gave a terrific, moving and uplifting speech. Overnight, she has gone from quirky young star to just full-on awesome.

It wasn’t all good LGBT news, of course, because it seldom is, when you are fighting for what is right. The legislature in Indiana passed the first round of a same-sex marriage constitutional ban. The only good thing about this is that the earliest it could possibly go before Hoosier voters is 2016. Hopefully by that time, it will be so out-of-step with the rest of the country that it won’t go forward.

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Kansas: Trying to become the Inequality Heartland of America

And in Kansas — Oh, Kansas, moan ‘Friends of Dorothy’ everywhere — the legislature was caught up in a time-travel drama that sent their collective consciousness back to concocting Reconstruction Era policies. Some say the Kansas bill to enshrine LGBT discrimination into law under the (laughable) guise of being non-discriminatory — I know, I know — won’t pass, but I am afraid that stranger things have happened.

And there’s Sochi, and Nigeria, and, and, and ….

But, on Valentine’s Day, daytime television’s only gay supercouple, Days of our LivesWill and Sonny, officially got engaged. I am fairly confident that this is a first for daytime, although some have said that Kyle and Oliver of One Life to Live were the first. I’m not sure that’s correct, but I’ll happily be proven wrong. We’ve come a long way since January 2009 when As The World Turns’ Luke and Noah, daytime’s very first gay male couple finally consummated their relationship, but were never shown in bed together! DAYS gets a gold star in my book for the way they’ve been treating these guys. Here’s a sample:

I wonder what next week will bring? An early spring? Please? Anyone?