Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Evolution Is Being Televised

For the past few days I’ve been completely holed up watching the evolution literally being televised. The past year hasn’t been exactly stellar for the homo-affectionally inclined. With the rise of the American Taliban, we’ve just been losing one battle after another, with state after state eagerly legislating gay Americans into the less-than-human category, and everyone from the Pope to Mel Gibson hell-bent on banishing us to hell. Conversations about constructing a gay Underground Railroad to Canada became eerily serious, and HIV and crystal meth stepped up their attacks on our communities. On top of all of this, Sex and the City ended leaving the entire gay community feeling like they had just lost most of their best friends, and Will & Grace entered into the Roseanne show zone (this is when a ground-breakingly funny sitcom outlives its expiration date and continues its run two, sometimes even three, seasons longer than it should).

Last week, gay America took a giant leap forward with the introduction of Logo, the first readily available all-gay cable channel. The programming includes gay-themed movies, documentaries, original series, comedy shows and music concerts. Even many of the commercials are gay-themed (the Orbitz commercials are kind of shockingly gay). I knew that Logo was coming some time ago, but I had no idea that it would have such an impact. I have seen countless gay-themed movies and plays, read a ton of gay books and listened to incalculable hours of gay music. I’ve even been to two Pet Shops Boys concerts – which are, hands down, the absolute gayest events on Earth. And yet, to have a television channel with 24 hours a day programming for gay people just so unbelievably cool! It’s so fucking exciting to think that ordinary, straight, middle-American channel surfers with little, or no, exposure to “the queers” might stumble into understanding us just a little better and hating us just a little less. Or, maybe not. Maybe it’ll just be fun for us – and

Last night, we watched Torch Song Trilogy with some friends. After nearly 20 years, Torch Song still stands unsurpassed as the most excellent gay film ever. Ever. I have seen it at least 20 times and it still makes me grateful that my life time coincides with the Torch Song Trilogy era. It stars Harvey Fierstein, Matthew Broderick and Anne Bancroft, and seriously, if you care about anyone who’s gay, you owe it to your relationship with them to see this movie.

After more than a year of crippling disappointments, Logo reignites hope and reenergizes the gay soul. Welcome to our culture.


hofzinser said...

It is only a matter of time. Making legal distinctions based on what two concenting adults safely practice in the bedroom makes no more sense than making legal distinctions based on the color of one's skin.

Being straight, it is much easier for me to wait for what will eventually happen. I cannot imagine waiting for my own rights to be acknowledge. Knowing it is just a matter of time may off little or no comfort.

VegasGustan said...

I am going to rent Torch Song as soon as I can. My best friend is gay. I love her with everything I am. I was raised very Christian, but I completely believe that a person is born that way and is no less a person than myself. She is my kindred and I would do anything for her.

I agree with you that Will and Grace jumped the shark a season or so ago. I am glad to hear that this will be there last one. Let's hope it is better than two seasons ago. That one was the worst. Do you like the L-Word? I heard it really was not that good. Just curious, before I go and rent it.

I agree that this country is becoming a Semi-Nazi infested place where instead of the Jewish they want to erradicate the gay nation. It is just wrong. Even if being gay is a sin, it should not matter because not everyone in this country believes the same thing. Plus, being gay hurts no one. Not a single person. So who cares? Why make it an issue? It is just so sad.

Cyrus said...

Hof: Man, you just keep racking up the points! You really hit something here. So often, I hear that we should be grateful that society has come so far in its attitude towards gay people, and that we can't expect changes to come in one day. Not to sound ungrateful, but I don't understand why I should have to wait my entire lifetime, or longer, for people to stop being cruel to me and people like me. It's very frustrating.

Vegas: It makes me smile to know that your best friend has such an amazingly cool, and straight, best friend. If everyone were like you, and Hof, the world would be a different place. As for the L Word - I've not yet seen it (I don't have Showtime), but my friend, who is a gay woman, says it's not very good. She said it's really shallow and compared it to Melrose Place.

VegasGustan said...

Wait just a damn minute, what is wrong with Melrose Place? C'mon that was some of the best mindless tribble on TV. I loved it.

"Oh, that Michael he's just so smug."

Anonymous said...

Mayor's vision fully in focus
Cindy Uken
The Desert Sun
July 13, 2005

As a member of the Palm Springs Human Rights Commission in the 1990s, Ron Oden was instrumental in getting Black Entertainment Television included in the local programming lineup. Now Mayor, Oden is lobbying to get more programming included that focuses on yet another minority group - gays and lesbians.

But his vision for what it could bring is much broader than local programming; it's an economic opportunity.

Oden, widely thought to be the country's first openly gay black mayor, is lobbying strenuously to get Q Television Network, a Palm Springs-based network, included on the Time Warner Cable television lineup. Q Television Network is a nationally syndicated gay television network run by and programmed for an audience that identifies itself as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender - and straight. It would be a natural fit for Palm Springs, which boasts a significant gay and lesbian population.

But for Oden, this is about so much more than just adding a network that is gay- and lesbian-based; it's about doing what's right for Palm Springs. And that's what really gets his creative juices flowing.

This is the place where noted retailers like Nordstrom and J. Crew frequently come for print advertising and catalog shoots.

More than 800 shooting days - including movies, TV shows, commercials and still photography - netted the valley $28 million in revenues in 2004, according to the Inland Empire Film Commission.

With the right production studio, Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley just might be able to take things to the next level. Theoretically, it could become a Hollywood satellite that turns media production into a source for year-round, high-paying jobs?

"If they get on Time Warner, they are going to build a production studio in the city," Oden said. "It gives us another opportunity to do things here. They're going to syndicate some national shows and broadcast from here on a daily basis. We're moving, baby."

Oden said one of the complaints he often hears is that there is no place in Palm Springs to produce programs; if Q Television Network builds a studio here, that would void that complaint.

Time Warner corporate officers are trying to negotiate a nationwide agreement with the type of network product Q Television Network offers, said Kathi Jacobs, director of government and community relations for Time Warner. The company is considering three different products in the same network genre; Q Television Network is one of them. She said a decision in expected "sometime in the future."

Carol Hinnant, vice president of acquisitions for Q Television Network, said Tuesday, "We are still talking with Time Warner and hope for a positive resolution in the next couple of months."

As I've gotten to know Oden better during his tenure as mayor - and watch how he works - there are no accidents. Most everything he does is by design.

Earlier this year, he talked of his vision to reestablish Palm Springs as a playground for the stars. He enlisted the help of actors, singers, writers and others to brainstorm ways to attract more stars and visitors to the city - and bring the Hollywood allure back to the desert.

Once a bit static, the picture is starting to become much clearer. It's becoming a don't-miss drama.

Royce Ogle said...

This is the meaningful life of a young gay man?

Lets see... You dislike your country very much. The high light of your life is a TV show?

The inherent unhappiness of your life comes screaming out of your posts. I hope it gets better for you. Even if the new cable network for gay men fails, I wish you happiness.

Cyrus said...

Mr. Ogler: This is the meaningful life of a young gay man?

Cyrus: Um, yep. And thanks for calling me young!

Mr. Ogler: Lets see... You dislike your country very much. The high light of your life is a TV show?

Cyrus: Actually, my country dislikes me and runs to the polls every election day to prove me right. It's not so much my country that I dislike so much, but the barbarians running it. And, Mr. Ogler, the highlight of my life right now is not a tv show - it's a tv network. Didn't do so well on those reading comprehension tests in school, did you?

Mr. Ogler: The inherent unhappiness of your life comes screaming out of your posts. I hope it gets better for you. Even if the new cable network for gay men fails, I wish you happiness.

Cyrus: Don't worry at all. I am actually one of the most fortunate people in this universe. I am surrounded by so much love and so many cool people, that even if the network for gay men (and gay women) fails, I think I'll be ok.

The Un-Apologetic Atheist said...

Heh, as someone who went to high school in north-central Louisiana, let me just tell you real quick that northeast Louisiana has only Monroe and Vicksburg (actually a town in Mississippi, sooo proud!) ... the odds are that our 60 year old friend is thoroughly inbred, and I guess that's fine... but you really shouldn't expect reading comprehension from him.

I do often wonder why it's so important for them to think that our lives are miserable-- or for them to try to think that anger at an unjust situation means that we individually are unhappy people. As a half-queer (bi) agnostic atheist, I get the "you must be miserable" accusation from all sides, to the point that it's a source of amusement for me, now. I just feel so sorry for these people with so much hurt inside to project onto others. Maybe if Royce had a nice schlong in his mouth he wouldn't be so upset all the time?

In any case, I'm glad to see a real queer network out there, and not the silly caricatures we see in "Queer as Folk", "Will and Grace", or "The L Word". Maybe, as you said, regular Americans will finally have a source of information about us other than the caricatures offered to them by their preachers and ignorant/sensationalist producers. Maybe not. Maybe it'll just take guys like Vegas to educate the world that we're no more of a threat to America today (and no less a part OF America) than the supposedly-diseased Jews were a threat to the German people. I'd count on the likes of him before I'd count on my TV, for sure, but I'm still glad to see a "real" queer channel about to emerge. Any progress is something.