Podcast: Netflix Mini-Series HALSTON, A Wild Rant About Cereal, An LGBTQ Icon Passes

In this episode: the NFL's homophobic email scandal, Pete Buttigieg claps back, and new music from out singer/songwriter Michael Lazar.

The Randy Report podcast delivers the week's top stories in a quick, convenient podcast - 'the 60 Minutes of gay news - only shorter'

In this week’s headlines:

• A 13-year-old student was brutally bullied at her school as other students stood laughing and recording the incident

• Karine Jean-Pierre, an out Black woman, made history at the White House this week

• We said goodbye to iconic LGBTQ activist & photojournalist Kay Tobin Lahusen as well as gay event producer Jeffrey Sanker

• A far-right TV host went on a wild rant about a Kellogg’s cereal honoring Pride Month

• And I review the new Netflix mini-series HALSTON

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report

News Round-Up: April 29, 2021

Ewan McGregor as Halston
Ewan McGregor as Halston
Ewan McGregor as Halston (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

LGBTQ Nation: 17-year-old Jace King has become the first out transgender Eagle Scout in his small town of Splendora, Texas, and may be one of the first in the country. King had always dreamed of becoming an Eagle Scout like his brother, but due to the scouts’ ban on transgender boys, he was not allowed to join until 2019.

The Daily Beast: Podcast host Joe Rogan walked back a statement he made on his podcast last week that young, healthy people shouldn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine. Rogan conceded, “I’m not a doctor, I’m a fucking moron. There’s some legitimate science behind this…I believe [the vaccines] are safe.”

Instinct Magazine: Actor Ewan McGregor (above) is defending his decision to take on the role of gay fashion design icon Halston in the upcoming Netflix mini-series.

New York Times: Three Georgia men were indicted on federal hate crime and attempted kidnapping charges in connection with the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was shot to death while jogging through a South Georgia neighborhood last year

American Greatness: Conservative author Peter D’Abrosca is refusing to get a COVID vaccine in an effort to ‘own the libs.’ “It makes them mad when they hear about my refusal. That, in turn, makes me happy.”

Out: The Tennessee CEO of a telehealth technology firm was fired after he was captured on video harassing a teen who was wearing a dress for prom. Sam Johnson, 46, was fired from his position at VisuWell after video of his exchange with Dalton Stevens, 18, at the Harpeth Hotel last Saturday went viral.

News Round-Up: April 16, 2021

Some news items you might have missed:

Instagram: Not everyone is celebrating ‘Bachelor’ star Colton Underwood getting a Netflix series that will follow his new life as an openly gay man after coming out this week. When Attitude Magazine posted the news (above), pop star Adam Lambert chimed in, “No one is feeling this Netflix.” And out former rugby star Keegan Hirst wrote, “Monetising coming out. Oh dear. Not a good look.”

Kenneth-in-the-212: Check out Kenneth’s weekly round-up of the what’s what in LGBTQ publications like this week’s GRAB Magazine featuring singer/songwriter Dodie.

(image via GRAB Magazine)

PBS: A new PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll found two-thirds of Americans (66%) oppose laws that would limit transgender rights. That opposition includes majorities of every political ideology from liberal to conservative and every age group.

CBC: A gym in Quebec City has become one of the largest recorded COVID-19 super-spreading events in Canada as 224 cases have been traced directly to the gym as well as another 356 related cases. The gym owner, a pandemic denier, shared social media posts that questioned the effectiveness of masks and minimized the dangers of COVID-19.

Instinct Magazine: A straight man began sharing pics of his enormous penis on Twitter during the pandemic, and now says he identifies as bisexual following all the attention he garnered from gay followers. “I think if I met the right one, and got to know and like and trust him, I might find the courage to… explore.”

NBC News: A new bill in the Texas Senate aims to redefine child abuse to include parents who consent to hormone therapy and puberty blockers for their transgender children. The legislation would make such acts a felony.

Pink News: A student was caught on video tearing down a Pride flag that hung along a stairwell at Ridgeline High School in Cache County, Utah, on Tuesday. It had been placed by officials to celebrate the school’s Gay Straight Alliance during diversity week, alongside flags from various countries.

Gus Kenworthy Will Be Colton Underwood’s ‘Gay Guide’ On Netflix Series

Gus Kenworthy will serve as a 'gay guide' to newly-out Colton Underwood on new Netflix reality series
Gus Kenworthy will serve as a 'gay guide' to newly-out Colton Underwood on new Netflix reality series
L-R Colton Underwood, Gus Kenworthy (via screen cap, Instagram)

Former Bachelor star Colton Underwood, who came out as gay during an interview on Good Morning America Wednesday morning, is getting his own Netflix reality show.

The unscripted series, according to Variety, will focus on Underwood learning to navigate living his life as an out gay man.

While Netflix shared no details about the multi-episode series, an insider says out Olympic medalist Gus Kenworthy will participate as a ‘gay guide’ of sorts as Underwood explores being a part of the LGBTQ community.

In that Underwood is a former NFL football player, and Kenworthy is a decorated free-style skier, it’s easy to imagine some discussion will be had on coming to grips with being gay while competing in such hyper-masculine sports.

No word on when the series will debut but the Netflix insider says the project is currently shooting.

Reality TV seems to be in Underwood’s blood as he’s been a big part of ‘Bachelor Nation’ for the past few years having taken part in The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, and then eventually being cast as The Bachelor.

In his interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, you could hear the nerves in Underwood’s voice as he shared he’s “run from myself for a long time” and “hated myself for a long time” before coming to the words, “I’m gay.”

“I came to terms with that earlier this year and have been processing all of that,” he added. “The next step in all of this was sort of letting people know.”

The 29-year-old also offered advice to anyone struggling with coming out saying, “When the time’s right and you’re ready, do it on your own time.”

Many on social media offered their support to Underwood including out celebs Andy Cohen, Billy Eichner, and Dan Levy.

‘The Prom’ Serves Up Big Stars & Sweet Same-Sex Romance

Meryl Streep and James Corden in The Prom (image via Netflix)

Netflix has dropped the Glee-tastic first trailer for the upcoming movie musical, The Prom, starring Academy Award winners Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman as well as Tony Award winner James Corden and Andrew Rannells.

The film follows Dee Dee Allen (Streep) and Barry Glickman (Corden) as New York stage actors whose latest big Broadway musical flops and the actors scramble to revive their careers.

At the same time, high school student Emma Nolan (Jo Ellen Pellman), in small-town Indiana, has been banned from bringing her girlfriend, Alyssa (Ariana DeBose) to prom even though she has the backing of her principal.

The cast of The Prom (image via Netflix)

When Dee Dee and Barry decide that Emma’s predicament is the perfect cause to help resurrect their public images, they hit the road with Angie (Kidman) and Trent (Rannells), another pair of cynical actors looking for a professional lift.

But the quartet finds, as often happens on the silver screen, that self-absorbed celebrity activism can backfire, leaving the four thespians in chaos even as they struggle on to give Emma a night where she can truly celebrate who she is.

The film’s sweet, teenage love story is balanced by big, splashy production numbers. And let’s face it – does anyone do over-the-top egocentric character roles better than La Streep?

Meryl Streep (center) in The Prom (image via Netflix)

The stage production of the musical opened in November 2018 to rave reviews winning the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical. 

When the Broadway cast appeared on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that year, the performance featured the first-ever same-sex kiss in the history of the annual event.

And the show went out with a bang with two same-sex members of the production exchanging vows onstage right before closing night.

The cast also includes Kerry Washington, Keegan-Michael Key, Tracey Ulmann, and Nico Greetham. Hollywood wonder-boy Ryan Murphy directs the musical created by Chad Beguelin, Bob Martin, and Matthew Sklar.

The Prom arrives on Netflix and in theatres on December 11. Watch the trailer below.

Teen Suicides Moved Zachary Quinto To Come Out

Zachary Quinto in ‘The Boys in the Band’ (photo: Netflix)

Zachary Quinto, currently starring in the Netflix screen adaptation of The Boys in the Band, recently shared for the first time the reason why he felt moved to come out as gay in 2011.

Quinto hit the national spotlight as a series regular in the NBC sci-fi series Heroes in 2006, which he starred in for all four seasons. In 2007, he was announced to play a young Spock in the reboot of the Star Trek film franchise.

Quinto told Variety in a recent interview that when he began his career in 1999, he was aware of the “explicit stigma’ that was attached to being an openly gay actor.

“I did feel like me coming out would have potentially had an impact on my career and it wouldn’t have been a good one,” Quinto shares.

He also recalled being out with a gay friend and running into a studio executive. After the encounter, the actor worried there were “going to be some ramifications” if he even appeared to be gay.

Zachary Quinto in 2012 (photo: Gerald Biggerstaff)

But then, in 2011, after reading the news of a series of teen queer suicides, Quinto had an epiphany.

“That was at a time when a lot of young gay kids were killing themselves around the country because of bullying,” says the 43-year-old actor. “There was a huge spate of teen suicides that were happening.”

“I just felt like I had an obligation at this point,” he added. “Having enjoyed a certain level of success, I felt like the hypocrisy was too much to bear for me to be enjoying this life that I had created for myself and not acknowledging my identity as a gay man.”

“I felt like it was actively harming a group of young people who the choice to come out could benefit.”

Charlie Carver, one of Quinto’s The Boys in the Band cast mates, also shared his own reason for coming out with Variety which involved a colleague slapping him across the face for appearing “gay” at an Emmy Awards party in 2015.

The coworker apparently criticized Carver three times over the course of the evening telling him to “get it under control.” When the young actor asked for ‘clarification,’ the man slapped Carver.

Said Carver, “That was the moment when I said to myself, ‘I can’t do this. I cannot police myself in that way.’”

The new TV adaptation of The Boys in the Band, starring the acclaimed all-gay/bi cast from the Tony Award-winning 2018 Broadway revival, is now streaming on Netflix.

In addition to Quinto, the cast includes Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Charlie Carver, Robin de Jesús, Brian Hutchison, Michael Benjamin Washington, and Tuc Watkins. The new screen version is based on the groundbreaking work of Mart Crowley.

Charlie Carver Came Out After A Slap In The Face For Appearing ‘Gay’ In Public

Charlie Carver in ‘The Boys in the Band’ (image via Instagram)

Charlie Carver, one of the actors starring in the new Netflix screen adaptation of The Boys in the Band, shares in an interview with Variety that he decided to publicly come out five years ago after being on the receiving end of a literal slap to the face for not appearing masculine in public.

According to Carver, he was attending an Emmy Awards party in 2015 when a gay colleague criticized him three times throughout the evening for how he ‘presented’ himself.

“I was told that I needed to ‘get it under control’ around people in the business,” Carver shared with Variety.

At the end of soiree, Carver ran into his friend while waiting for his car at the valet. Asking his colleague for ‘clarification’ about the earlier comments, the man slapped Carver across the face.

“It wasn’t playful but intentional, pointed and meant to be instructive. A slap,” says the actor. “I told him that if he ever touched me again, I would name him.”

While the episode was certainly shocking for its physicality, Carver, who is 32-years-old today, says, “That was the moment when I said to myself, ‘I can’t do this. I cannot police myself in that way.’”

The actor, who was best known at the time for regular appearances on Desperate Housewives and Teen Wolf, came out a few months later in January 2016 via his Instagram account.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Pt 1: “Be who you needed when you were younger”. About a year ago, I saw this photo while casually scrolling through my Instagram one morning. I’m not one for inspirational quotes, particularly ones attributed to “Mx Anonymous”- something mean in me rebukes the pithiness of proverbs, choosing to judge them as trite instead of possibly-generally-wise, resonant, or helpful. And in the case of the good ol’ Anonymous kind, I felt that there was something to be said for the missing context. Who wrote or said the damn words? Why? And to/for who in particular? Nonetheless, I screen-capped the picture and saved it. It struck me for some reason, finding itself likeable enough to join the ranks of the “favorites” album on my phone. I’d see it there almost daily, a small version of it next to my other “favorites”; I’d see it every time I checked into the gym, pulled up a picture of my insurance cards, my driver’s license…. Important Documents. And over the course of about-a-year, it became clear why the inspirational photo had called out to me. As a young boy, I knew I wanted to be an actor. I knew I wanted to be a lot of things! I thought I wanted to be a painter, a soccer player, a stegosaurus… But the acting thing stuck. It was around that age that I also knew, however abstractly, that I was different from some of the other boys in my grade. Over time, this abstract “knowing” grew and articulated itself through a painful gestation marked by feelings of despair and alienation, ending in a climax of saying three words out loud: “I am gay”. I said them to myself at first, to see how they felt. They rang true, and I hated myself for them. I was twelve. It would take me a few years before I could repeat them to anyone else, in the meantime turning the phrase over and over in my mouth until I felt comfortable and sure enough to let the words pour out again, this time to my family…

A post shared by Charlie Carver (@charliecarver) on

Two years later, Carver made his Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning revival of Mort Crowley’s iconic play about gay men at a birthday party in Greenwich Village, The Boys in the Band. All of the actors in the highly-acclaimed production were openly gay/bisexual.

The entire cast was reunited, along with the production’s director Joe Mantello, by producer Ryan Murphy for the newly-released TV version of the play.

Carver stars in Boys as the hunky “Cowboy,” a hustler hired as a gift for “Harold,” the birthday boy in the story played by Zachary Quinto.

Carver is also currently appearing as a series regular in Murphy’s new psychological thriller for Netflix, Ratched, in which the handsome actor plays “Huck Finnagan,” a disfigured hospital orderly. And he’s set to appear in the upcoming The Batman alongside Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz.

Carver recently told The Advocate he’s “felt this sort of sense of relaxing” into himself since coming out.

“To have kind of other champions in this business who gave me a chance, Ryan Murphy being one of them, they saw something in me and they let me be a part of it,” Carver shared. “Then opportunities led to other opportunities … I started kind of stepping into myself, and I believe when you do that, doors open.”

You can catch Carver (and all the ‘boys’) in The Boys in the Band, currently streaming on Netflix.

What To Watch: New On Netflix ‘Julie And The Phantoms’

Director/choreographer Kenny Ortega (High School Musical, This Is It, Xanadu, Hocus Pocus) knows a little something something about finding magic with a mix of teens, music and passion.

His latest is Julie and the Phantoms, a new Netflix series that follows the journey of a gifted teen girl, Julie (played by newcomer Madison Reyes), who’s lost her drive for music after her mother’s death.

But when the ghosts of three dreamy musicians from 1995 – Alex (Owen Joyner), Luke (Charlie Gillespie), and Reggie (Jeremy Shada) – appear, they reawaken Julie’s own inner spirit and create a new band together: Julie and the Phantoms.

It seems the guys, known back in the day, as pop/punk band Sunset Curve, were on the road to stardom before their untimely deaths due to ‘bad hotdogs.’ But now they’re back to settle some unfinished business.

One twist: they can only be seen by mortals when they play their pop bops with Julie. But that doesn’t stop the sparks from flying between Julie and guitar-toting Luke.

L-R Madison Reyes, Charlie Gillepsie (Netflix)

Out actor Cheyenne Jackson (American Horror Story) has a recurring role as mysterious antagonist Caleb Covington who is somehow involved in a limit on the guys’ time among the living.

There’s an LGBTQ aspect to the series as Alex, the blond drummer who came out as gay shortly before his death, crushes on Willie (Booboo Stewart), a charming skater boy who might know more about ghostly things than he lets on.

Even though the series dropped today, there’s already a tribute video for the show’s adorable gay couple.

Ortega definitely brings some High School Musical vibe (with a touch of Scooby Doo) with some peppy pop song performances (all the songs are pretty catchy) and of course, a blond nemesis for Julie since the series does take place in a high school setting.

All nine episodes of the new series, based on the original Brazilian series Julie e os Fantasmas, are available now on Netflix.