Category: Barbra Streisand

Kramer vs Streisand; Hotel Asshat List; Modern Family Gay Wedding

Kramer vs Streisand

As the Memorial Day weekend air date for the film adaptation of Larry Kramer’s play, The Normal Heart, approaches, Kramer has lashed out once again at Barbra Streisand. This time he’s alleging that Streisand finds gay sex “distasteful.”

“I said, ‘I really think it’s important that after eons of watching men and women make love in the movies, it’s time to see two men do so,’” the playwright and activist told The New York Times of his desire to see his 1985 autobiographical play brought to the big screen. “I bought [Barbara] a book of very beautiful art pictures of two men making love, and she found it very distasteful.”

The back story to all this is that Kramer wanted Streisand to adapt The Normal Heart into a film (for years) and she never did it. Evidently, he’s been holding a grudge for a long time. I’ve posted about it a few times, here.

Streisand has responded quietly and with professional dignity:

Streisand — who has long been a gay icon and gay rights advocate — responded to the Times story, saying her goal is “to promote the idea of everyone’s right to love. Gay or straight!”

“Larry was at the forefront of this battle and, God love him, he’s still fighting,” added Streisand, who for a time owned the rights to “The Normal Heart.” “But there’s no need to fight me by misrepresenting my feelings. As a filmmaker, I have always looked for new and exciting ways to do love scenes, whether they’re about heterosexuals or homosexuals. It’s a matter of taste, not gender. … I was trying to reach a large audience, and I wanted them to root for these two men to get married.”

Clearly, Streisand is not only a supporter of LGBTI people, but I would imagine very deeply involved for personal reasons. Her son is gay.

I would never wish for my son to be anything but what he is. He is bright, kind, sensitive, caring, and a very conscientious and good person. He is a very gifted actor and filmmaker. What more could a parent ask for in their child? I have been truly blessed. Most parents feel that their child is particularly special, and I am no different. I have a wonderful son. My only wish for my son, Jason, is that he continues to experience a rich life of love, happiness, joy, and fulfillment, both creatively and personally.

In any event, Ryan Murphy of Glee fame picked up the option and he’s done the HBO film adaptation that will air this weekend. According to this article, in true Murphy fashion, he gathered up all of Hollywood’s most beloved “icons” to star in the film. Originally, Alec Baldwin was set to be in it, too, but that changed fast. 

There’s also an e-mail exchange between Kramer and Streisand that was leaked, here at this web site.  This comment by Kramer is interesting.

“Overnight this is going in the press? This will make her mad. But she had every opportunity to make the movie. If she had made it in 1986, it would have been out there a long time ago, doing its job. But I always sensed there was something troubling her about the play that she wouldn’t put into words. I think, maybe, she was uncomfortable directing the sex stuff. We invited her to our opening night [of last year’s revival] in New York, but she never responded.”

If you do a simple search, you’ll find even more information about the vituperative attack Kramer has launched against Streisand in public. He makes the jaded politically incorrect expression “mean old queen” look tame in his quest for publicity and attention.

Side note: if anyone is looking for an excellent, comprehensive account of what it was like for people living with AIDS in the 1980’s, John Irving’s novel, In One Person, is the best I’ve ever read…and there’s nothing self-indulgent or insulting to many gay men about it. The details and research is astounding. It won a Lambda Award last year, and I’ve reviewed it. This link has all the information you’ll need to know.  If I were Streisand I’d go after the film rights on this one, make a feature, and flip the bird to Kramer when no one else is looking, with a great big smile.

Hotel Asshat List

Here’s an interesting article involving Twitter and asshats that go to hotels and complain about them on social media.

At the taping of yesterday’s Pando “webinar” I  asked founder Sam Shank outright: By any chance does Hotel Tonight keep a list of whiny Twitter assholes to ensure they get special treatment?

“It’s not a list of assholes,” Shank insisted, thus confirming that it absolutely is.

He wouldn’t tell me precisely how many people were on Hotel Tonight’s asshole list, although he would say it’s “a few hundred.” But again he insisted the assholes on it were referred to in the company as “influencers.”

“What kind of influencers?” I asked.

Shank hesitated. “Heads of state, Victoria’s Secret models, that kind of thing,” he lied.

This is proof that nothing we say or do anymore goes unnoticed. I keep a few asshat lists myself whenever I see something on social media.

You can read more here.

Modern Family Gay Wedding

The gay wedding between Mitch and Cam on Modern Family focused more on comedy than politics and emotion. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve read and heard a lot of positive things about it.

‘We want emotion we want to send a message but if it’s not funny then people are going to lose interest really fast,’ show creator Steve Levitan said at a party this week celebrating the episode. ‘I think its got an abundance of heart but I also think that it’s a really funny episode.’

Eric Stonestreet (Cam) and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitch) play the grooms who have been together for several years already and are raising an adopted daughter who was introduced in the show’s first episode five years ago.

Stonestreet said at the party: ‘(Our) first and foremost goal is to make an audience laugh. (The fact) that we have these two characters on our show that also get to check in and be cultural touchstones for people who may have questions or may not know what a gay wedding might be – this TV show transcends that.’

I think he makes an excellent point. Many people still are so unfamiliar with gay marriage and gay weddings it’s important to show things like this to the mainstream. It’s relevant. And what better way than to do it with comedy?

There’s more here.

Tom of Finland Stamp; Barbra Streisand on The Normal Heart; Debbie Boone Pro-Gay Beliefs; Publishing Links

Tom of Finland Stamp

Last July Queer Town Abbey had a blog hop and I was part of it and I contributed a prize. Instead of putting one of my books up that time, for a change I decided to give the winner a fairly valuable collection of five print books from Tom of Finland. I’ve been haphazardly collecting things like this for a while, and we even had a Tom of Finland shop in New Hope for tourists for a short time. So when I saw there will now be a stamp in The Netherlands for Tom of Finland I found it interesting that something from gay culture like this would become so mainstream.

Finnish gay erotic artist Touko Laaksonen, AKA Tom of Finland, is to be recognized in his homeland with a series of commemorative stamps by Finland’s postal service.

The stamps will be released in September this year as the first of a series of commemorative stamps recognizing prominent Finnish artists.

Tom of Finland produced more than 3,500 erotic drawings before his death in 1991, mostly published in early gay muscle magazines beginning in 1956.

This isn’t just gay culture, it’s also part of pop culture…and part of an era. And like Harvey Milk, I highly doubt Laaksonen ever would have guessed he’d reach stamp status.

You can read more here.

Streisand on The Normal Heart

Barbra Streisand owned the rights to The Normal Heart for many years. It’s an LGBTI play written by Larry Kramer. For various reasons Streisand never found the right way to adapt The Normal Heart to film and when the rights reverted back to Larry Kramer he started slamming Streisand for not working hard enough to do a film adaptation. This has all been talked about many times, and now Streisand is speaking up in her own defense.

‘It’s a fabulous, fabulous play and I thought it could make a great movie,’ she says. ‘It was so ahead of its time in terms of understanding gay marriage. I wanted it out in 1987. Everyone who goes into that play comes out understanding why you want to get married to someone.’

But there were battles over the script with Kramer and by the time Streisand felt the script was finally ready, she could not get the go-ahead from her studio, Columbia, and went on to make The Mirror Has Two Faces instead.

It would be 18 years before Streisand would make another movie – a supporting role in 2004’s Meet the Fockers.

Aside from the fact that all this is excellent free publicity for The Normal Heart, I don’t think it’s going to harm Streisand. If anything, I think when The Normal Heart airs on May 25 on Showtime we’ll all be watching very closely. And that’s because Ryan Murphy of Glee and American Horror directed it. I haven’t always been a huge fan of Murphy in the sense that his portrayal of gay men…especially gay men…tends to be one dimensional, stereotypical, and often self-indulgent. His TV show The New Normal was not received well, and I can’t even sit through one episode of Glee at this point. That’s not because I’m anti-gay. I AM gay. I’m just anti-bullshit. The most recent season of American Horror was more like fanfic of the old TV show Bewitched, from the covens right down to the evil mother witch. Only Murphy pulled out all the stops by adding incest, bestiality, rape, and all those other “artisical” elements those of the Hollywood fake-it-real-good crowd love to use when they want us to think they are on “that cutting edge” and they are making millions of dollars to be deep and heartfelt.

I’ll be watching on May 25th. And frankly, even though I’m not going to slam Streisand for not making the film herself, I am VERY sorry she didn’t make it. I wouldn’t have had any worries then.

Debbie Boone Pro-Gay Beliefs

This is exactly the kind of article that you probably wouldn’t hear someone like Ryan Murphy talk about openly. He would just ignore it. But I think it’s important because it gets to the heart of a very deep issue we’re all dealing with in the US right now. And that issue is being Christian and coming to terms with supporting gays. You see, Ryan Murphy would only tell you about the Christians who hate gays and want to discriminate against them. He wouldn’t tell you about Christians like Debbie Boone who searched and questioned everything she’d ever known to support gays.

Boone, whose father is anti-gay singer and actor Pat Boone, attended the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday with lesbian friends and talked about her journey to becoming a Christian who embraces the LGBT community.

‘I’m really happy to be here in support of GLAAD, because I am one of the people that has made the transition from an old way of thinking to a new one,’ she said in a red carpet interview with Traipsing Thru Films.

This is something I’m seeing all over, and hearing it from readers all the time. In fact, a study was done recently claiming that most Catholics support gays and gay marriage. The times are changing and we all have to change right along with them…even gay activists.

You can read more here. This really IS the new normal.

Publishing Links

There isn’t a thing that happens on publishing blogs that I miss, however, I don’t post much about them here on the blog anymore because they are either boring, frustrating, or just plain ridiculous. I’m tired of the e-book debate: people are reading e-books and print books now and e-books aren’t going anywhere. But there are some things out there that might be important (interesting) to other writers and when I see them I try to post about them.

Here’s a link to literary agent Janet Reid’s blog. She posted about why she doesn’t like to see people add links to query letters. She claims the links don’t look good and she’s just not fond of them. But I think it’s important to mention that no one can really trust any links anymore in e-mails unless you know someone personally. I followed a link through an e-mail last year from what I thought was Amazon, and I wound up having to cancel a credit card as a result…as per Amazon’s recommendation. Links can contain viruses, and all kinds of malware that could ruin your life. So I never add links to anything in e-mail unless I personally know someone, and I never click them either. This is also why it’s important to make a clear subject line. I find myself deleting e-mails without clear subject lines now more than ever because I don’t feel comfortable about them.

Here’s an interesting link to an article about e-books, with facts and a few figures.

Here’s one on digital journalism that’s interesting. They seem to be worried about catching up with all things digital.

This link helps celebrate National Poetry month with a video of “Arthur” performing the poem “Today is a Very Boring Day.”

Finally, there’s an interesting post over at Nathan Bransford’s blog. In the post Bransford links to a commentary (I think it’s commentary, with this one I’m never too sure because she talks in circles…think Hannah on the TV show Girls) by a blogger who gained pinky finger fame on the fringes of publishing for a short time when she worked for an unnamed literary agent and dubbed herself (and her blog) The Rejectionist. I never followed her much because I found it too disconcerting to try to figure out what she was talking about half the time. I don’t think she’s working as a literary agent “rejectionist” any longer, and I think she even managed to snag a book deal. In any event, her commentary discusses what I think is a new publishing venture for her (don’t quote me on that; I only skimmed) and how we have a lack of African American authors and books thanks to what seems to be a suggestion that publishing as an industry doesn’t support them as much as they should.

But it’s the comment thread on Bransford’s post I found interesting about the topic of African American authors. I don’t really have any comments of my own on the topic because I’m still too busy working to break some of the LGBTI stereotypes in publishing I’ve had to face as an author all my life. I’m not complaining, trust me I’m not. I also fully understand that publishers can only publish a certain amount of LGBTI content because they are going for broad markets and thinking like businesspeople. I love writing LGBTI fiction and all content, however, I often wish there were ways to penetrate the mainstream market a little more.

Silver Publishing Leiland Dale; Streisand/Kramer Feud: The Normal Heart; Gay Hanky Code

Silver Publishing Leiland Dale

There’s a very disturbing blog post written by M/M author, A.J. Llewellyn, about start up digital press, Silver Publishing. I know they publish a great deal of M/M Romance, and I think they’ve branched out into other genres as well. But the gist of the post I’m linking to now alleges so many things I think it’s important for all newer authors to read.

I have updated and amended this blog to keep current. As of this moment, 4/11/14 the information is as accurate as I can make it. Silver Publishing LLC is still in existence as a website. It boasts one lone author, Leiland Dale, the company owner.

It is my hope that readers will be refunded money they paid for pre-ordered books. It is only fair. But then nothing is fair with this man. He stiffed hard-working staff, stole from friends and really ripped off his authors.

I’ve spent some time compiling this report. As of now it looks like Lodewyk Deysel, AKA Leiland Dale has set up another website to lure in fresh talent. Writer Beware!

I’ve never had any personally dealings with this publisher, but I know many authors who have.

You can read more here. It’s a long post, with a few links…one to Absolute Write that’s worth checking out. But it’s something I think is worth reading in full. This one actually reads like a mystery/suspense novel. The links at the post to which I just linked lead to a new LGBTI press called Gia Press allegedly owned by the same owner of Silver Press, however, when I tried to check out all the links the only one that worked was a twitter account.

One more reason to vet all small presses these days, and the people who run them.

Streisand/Kramer Feud: The Normal Heart

I actually read Larry Kramer’s strong comments against Barbra Streisand a few weeks ago and didn’t pay much attention to them because it sounded as if Kramer was trying to get attention. And one of the best ways to get attention these days is to create a kerfuffle. I could be wrong about that. I have a tendency to trust very little nowadays. However, Streisand recently spoke up in her own defense and explained why The Normal Heart was never made. I’ve posted about The Normal Heart here already. The Normal Heart is a play about AIDS in the early days. Streisand owned the rights to it for a while. They eventually reverted back to Kramer and now it’s going to be an HBO film directed by Ryan Murphy, starring Matt Bomer. Larry Kramer comes from a time when not many gay men had a voice, and the only ones who did were those who were the most radical and the most obnoxious. The rest of us were invisible and it’s taken a longer time for us to be heard than it has for The Normal Heart to be produced. Trust me on this, if I really did open up, which I will in the future sometime, I can match anything Kramer has to say about AIDS.

But I think Streisand makes several good points.

In the press, Larry kept speaking out against me. But I think it’s unfair to keep blaming me for the movie not getting made. I worked on it for 25 years, without pay. Larry had the rights for the last 15 years and he couldn’t get it made, either. Those are the facts.
In 2007, he sent me a note before giving the project to another director, asking me again if I wanted to direct it — but only with his screenplay. As a filmmaker, I couldn’t have my hands tied like that. What if I needed changes? Sadly, I turned his offer down and wished him well.
I will always believe in Larry’s play and its powerful theme about everyone’s right to love. It’s been 28 years since I tried to get this piece made … so much has happened since. But I’m glad it’s finally here.

Streisand has an openly gay son who is HIV poz. I can tell you from personal experience that when you have a loved one with HIV and you’re dealing with any project AIDS related, you take that very seriously.

In any event, I’m looking forward to watching it.

The New Hanky Code

For those who don’t know, in the 1970’s there was this code for gay men where they would shove a colored hanky into their pockets…I think; it’s way before my time…and other gay men would know what they were sexually interested in according to the color of the hanky. No details here, of course. But a yellow hanky had a very specific meaning and it’s not hard to guess what that was. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want anyone doing THAT to me. Now there’s a new code out:

Brace yourselves, because the code is back. But with a twist. As Justin Sayre, speaking on behalf of the board of The International Order of Sodomites, points out, instead of your preferred brand of ‘kink,’ “this time [the hanky code will be] used to talk about your damage.” Some examples? Grey means boring, yellow marks a commitment-phobe, cobalt blue signifies emotionally withholding, whereas pink will now stand for ingrained homophobia (“These are the guys that refer to you on Grindr as ‘man’ or ‘dude’ when you would prefer, ‘Her ladyship’”). Teal denotes a problem with collectibles meanwhile olive means you hate the Golden Girls (they tried to pick the ugliest color). As helpful as this new code may be, the important thing is to stay humble and self-aware:

There’s more here.

For anyone interested, and I know many of you are, Wiki gives a more detailed explanation, in detail, of the old hanky code here.