News Round-Up: June 10, 2020

Paulo Batista (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

InstaHunks: Woofy transgender bodybuilder Paulo Batista (above) is literally pumped to be back in the gym: “One of my first days back to a gym in a while! It felt great to get a real pump and sweat in!”

Buzzfeed News: Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling doubled down on her recent anti-transgender comments, releasing an extensive statement about her fears of “current trans activism,” which recycles dangerous anti-trans stereotypes and cliches. #DeeplyDisappointing

People: CNN anchor Anderson Cooper opens up about being a dad to adorable baby Wyatt. “This is a dream come true,” the veteran journalist says of parenthood.

Pride Month TV: The acclaimed documentary, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, celebrates one of the icons of the gay rights movement, and the self-described “street queen” of NY’s gay ghetto in the 1960s. When Johnson’s body was found in the Hudson River in 1992, police called it a suicide and didn’t investigate. David France’s film seeks to uncover the truth of her death while celebrating her legacy. Streaming now on Netflix.

The Hill: The final testing stage for a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna is set to begin in July. John Mascola, the director of the vaccine research center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Wall Street Journal the trials will involve about 30,000 people at more than 50 sites, which will mostly be within the U.S.

Washington Post: Last week, the hashtag #LadyGraham exploded on social media in response to allegations made on Twitter by gay adult-film star Sean Harding against Sen. Lindsey O. Graham of South Carolina. The hashtag purportedly refers to Graham’s nickname among male sex workers. What followed has been a mixed bag of political commentary, wanton speculation and downright trolling.

Politico: The Trump administration is preparing to open the door to oil and gas drilling off Florida’s coast — but will wait until after the November election to avoid blowback in a swing state whose waters both parties have long considered sacrosanct, according to four people familiar with the plan.

Out Music: Acclaimed out singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright drops his latest music video, “You Ain’t Big,” from his upcoming album Unfollow the Rules.

“I originally wrote the song “You Ain’t Big” about the strange fact that in the music business worldwide until recently (our estimation has fallen considerably) no matter how well you’ve done anywhere else, if you couldn’t make it in the heartland of the US you weren’t really considered a true star,” shares Wainwright. “Think Little Richard, Elvis, the Beatles, and Julio Iglesias.”

“Its vintage sound harkens back to the classical American country music sound of the 40s and 50s and with the help of opposing images in the video of how different life was for white people compared to black people in the 1950’s, as it has sadly remained,” adds the two-time Juno Award winner. “I think it rings appropriate for this time and professes a certain truth.”

Documentary Explores Life & Death Of Closeted Anti-Gay Attorney Roy Cohn

L-R Donald Trump, Roy Cohn (screen capture)

Check out the first trailer for the new documentary Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, scheduled to debut June 19 on HBO.

The film takes an unflinching look at the life and death of infamous, closeted anti-gay attorney, Roy Cohn.

From Deadline:

The documentary draws on unearthed archival material and audiotapes to paint a portrait of Cohn’s life from the late 1950s as chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy, through to the 1980s when he embedded himself in the Reagan White House as a “rabid anti-homosexuality activist and political mentor” to current U.S. President Donald Trump before dying of AIDS in 1986.

Interviewees include John Waters, Cindy Adams, Alan Dershowitz, Nathan Lane, and Tony Kushner, whose 2018 Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning revival of Angels In America featured Lane as Cohn.

“Roy Cohn made his name prosecuting and pushing for the execution of my grandparents Ethel and Julius Rosenberg,” said director Ivy Meeropol. “Many years later he became Donald Trump’s lawyer, mentor, and close friend. If there was ever a time to reflect on how we got here it is now. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share the film with HBO audiences.”

“One thing I didn’t know until 1988 was that Cohn was gay and had succumbed to AIDS. Learning this about him made me want to know more about this man and the secret life he led. This clash of feelings, hating a man and believing he was evil while simultaneously feeling empathy for that same man who no doubt suffered in the closet, drove my approach in making this film.”

Screening Of ‘Stonewall Outloud’ Celebrates History With A Homecoming

By Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.

Over the last fifty years, the story of what took place at the Stonewall Inn in the sweltering early hours of June 28, 1969, has become more legend and lore than verifiable fact. The first recorded archival accounts by those who were there didn’t take place until twenty years later with the audio documentary, Remembering Stonewall.

StoryCorps has preserved the vital historic accounts of those events and this year also launched an effort to record the stories of the LGBTQ Community through its app. Thirty years after the firsthand stories were recorded, filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato have brought them to life in Stonewall Outloud and home to the Stonewall Inn.

Narrated by RuPaul, the film honors past with present and reminds us exactly how monumental those nights were, and our history is as a community.

In a special screening at the legendary bar on Wednesday night, a capacity crowd was transfixed listening to the words of those who had paved the way for them as some of today’s most recognizable LGBTQ talent (Lance Bass, Daniel Franzese, Michael Turchin, Charlie Carver, Laith Ashley and more) channeled their spirit.

Lance Bass and Michael Turchin

Afterward, Michael Musto hosted a Q & A with Bailey and featured Stonewall veteran and Stonewall bartender, Fredd E. “Tree” Sequoia. In Stonewall Outloud, Tree is “played” by none other than Adam Rippon. If you think he’s sassy, pull up a barstool and have a chat with Tree.

He has spent 51 years working at gay bars in the Village, has all the Tea (and spills it) and has no plans to retire. He said, “I plan on dropping dead behind the bar here. Then the owners will have to clean me up!”

Stories are not just a community’s history; it is their pride. If we find time to listen to each other’s stories, we’d learn they are also our joy.

You can watch Stonewall Outloud below.

 

Lawrence Pfeil, Jr., is a freelance writer/playwright who has reviewed film and theatre, both on and off-Broadway, for media outlets including The Randy Report, the New York Blade, and Edge Publications.

Podcast: Gerald McCullouch Chats On New Film ‘All Male All Nude – Johnsons’

Today I’m chatting with award-winning filmmaker Gerald McCullouch – whose acting work you know from movies like Daddy, the Bear City franchise, as well as his ten seasons as ‘Bobby Dawson’ on the hit TV series, CSI.

Gerald has spent years exploring and documenting the world of male strippers. Two years ago, he shared his acclaimed documentary ‘All Male All Nude’ which took a look behind the scenes of Atlanta’s famous Swinging Richards strip club.

Now he’s back with a second feature-length documentary titled, ‘All Male All Nude: Johnsons.’

Here’s the official synopsis:

Journey into the unique world of male stripping at a small gay strip club located in America’s Second Gayest City.

‘All Male, All Nude: Johnsons’ is set in Florida’s newest gay strip club, Johnsons, located in Wilton Manors, Florida and new home to the creator and owner of Johnsons – Matt Colunga, an award-winning bodybuilder, who has been in the male entertainment industry for 23 years and was introduced in the first documentary film.

The cast of characters in the film range from Matt, to a hunky 26-year-old who spends his days dressed as Spider-Man creating early memories for children at kid parties and then spends his nights stripping down to his G-String for gay men, to single fathers putting themselves through college with their stripping income, to entertainers in the adult film world.

The men who compose the heart of Johnsons are diverse, unique, and captivating.

Hit the play button to hear my chat with the always-awesome Gerald McCullouch:

‘All Male, All Nude: Johnsons’ will have its official premiere in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Sunday, September 15 at 6:30 PM at the Gateway Theater (1820 E. Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304).

A pre-reception for VIP guests which will begin at 5 PM at the Modern Sixties Wine Lounge next to The Classic Gateway.

As well as an exclusively catered VIP afterparty following the premiere at Johnsons the club, complete with an open bar where guests are welcome to mingle with the chiseled centerpieces of the film.

Plus, guests attending the premiere will be treated to a special performance by acclaimed NYC musician Corey TuT performing songs from the film’s soundtrack.

Click here for ticket information: tickets.completeticketsolutions.com/OSFF/On…E53D31B

Meet The Openly Gay Strongman Who Just Attended His First Pride

Meet Chris “Big Bear” McNaghten, the openly gay Northern Ireland strongman who recently attended his first Pride event and is featured in the new BBC documentary, My First Pride.
Chris “Big Bear” McNaghten

Woof!

Meet Chris “Big Bear” McNaghten, the openly gay Northern Ireland strongman who recently attended his first Pride event and is featured in the new BBC documentary, My First Pride.

McNaghten shares in the documentary that he is “the first openly gay strongman to come out in the UK and Ireland, possibly even Europe.”

The beefy 30-year-old shares other ‘firsts’ in his life as well, including coming out as gay.

McNaghten explains that coming out to one of his coaches, who had become a close friend as well, was one of his more difficult challenges to overcome.

“I was just as nervous about telling him about it as I was about my dad,” explains the Strongman champion. “It was a wee bit emotional. That was just a massive weight off my back.”

After the coming out process, it was finally time to attend his first Pride. So off to Belfast, Northern Ireland, he went with his fiancé, Jon.

The couple is engaged although same-sex marriage isn’t legal (yet) in Northern Ireland.

While the LGBTQ landscape in his home country hasn’t caught up with the dozens of countries around the world that have embraced marriage equality, he has seen how social attitudes have shifted in other countries.

Take, for example, public displays of affection.

“Whenever we have been in London together, there’s no issue with holding hands, there are no issues being in restaurants with each other or kissing or showing any type of affection with each other,” says McNaghten. “But back home, we have yet to do it.”

A post shared by Chris ‘ Big bear’ McNaghten (@bearstrongmcnaghten) on Jul 31, 2019 at 10:17am PDT

Still, even at home, beefy “Big Bear” does enjoy many of the same things LGBTQ folks do, like RuPaul’s Drag Race, which he sees as comparable to what he does in his sport.

“Drag is about putting on a performance and about performing for people,” he says. “It’s the exact same way whenever I’m on stage competing.”

And speaking of “the exact same,” McNaghten is looking forward to the day when his sexuality isn’t really a part of his fame in the sports world.

“I want to be Ireland’s strongest man,” he says. “I don’t want to be Ireland’s strongest gay man.”

PinkNews also produced this short video profile of McNaghten:

The 2018 film, Bear Strong, chronicles his quest to become Ireland’s strongest man, his coming out journey, and how he learned to conquer his battles with mental illness. The full film is available on YouTube here.

Civil Rights Documentary THE FREEDOM TO MARRY Now Available VOD

Civil rights documentary, The Freedom To Marry, is available today on VOD and across digital platforms including iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.

Via press release:

This is the epic, untold story of how same-sex marriage became law of the land.

Documenting one of the greatest civil rights stories of our time, The Freedom To Marry is a nail-biting, behind-the-scenes story that traces the marriage equality movement’s historic progress, and reveals the masterminds of the movement they lead the fight to win same sex marriage throughout the United States.

The Freedom To Marry follows Evan Wolfson, the architect of the marriage movement, attorney Mary Bonauto, and their team through their decades long battle, culminating in a dramatic fight at the United States Supreme Court. More than the saga of one of the most importnant civil rights stories of our time, this is an inspiring tale of how a real change occurs, even against the biggest odds.

Directed by veteran doc filmmaker Eddie Rosenstein, produced by Jenni Olson & Amie Segal. .

The essence of the right to marry is the freedom to marry the person you choose.
Evan Wolfson, architect of the Freedom To Marry movement

When something is wrong, you do something to change it.
Mary Bonauto, landmark civil rights attorney (Obergefell vs. Hodges)

“Thoroughly moving and inspiring”
Boston Globe

“Landmark…this summer’s hot documentary.”
Curve Magazine

Watch the trailer below.