Actress and activist Laverne Cox delivered an emotional keynote address at the opening of Creating Change 2014 on Thursday. More than 4,000 LGBT activists and allies have gathered in Houston for the annual conference sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
The Orange is the New Black star spoke passionately on social justice, equality and the challenges faced by many trans women. "When a trans woman is called a man that is an act of violence," said Cox. "But loving trans people is a revolutionary act."
Yaasss! The fabulous Ms. Jenifer Lewis will star and executive produce in "Ventura Boulevard" to be directed by Debbie Allen and produced by Nathan H. Williams, reports IndieWire's Shadow and Act.
[The script is] penned by Mark Alton Brown and Dee LaDuke, the same writing team behind Lewis' cult classic Jackie’s Back!. The 1999 comedy directed by Robert Townsend chronicles the life and career of an R&B diva, who, after several years of toiling away in obscurity, decides to organize a comeback.
Ventura Boulevard is described as a darkly comedic homage to the 1950 Billy Wilder classic Sunset Boulevard, starring Lewis as a self-deluded queen of 1970’s blaxpoitation movies who uses her guile, money and sex to manipulate a young white scriptwriter into creating her comeback part.
"I am taking things into my own hands by producing Ventura Boulevard," said Jenifer Lewis, who promises a film that touches on hot social issues, like aging, race and deception. "The Hollywood establishment isn’t going to finance a movie about a middle aged African-American diva who deceives and beds a young white man."
"It's a comedy classic in the making," director Maurice Jamal told R20 after the news was announced Friday. Jamal directed the 2006 drama Dirty Laundry which featured Lewis, Rockmond Dunbar and Loretta Devine. That project was also produced by Nathan H. Williams.
"It is going to be amazing," Williams told R20. "And, as Jenifer said yesterday, Ms. Debbie Allen is already going surgical on the script and production. Hope y'all are ready!"
Allen is currently directing episodes of several television series including Shonda Rhimes' Grey's Anatomy and Scandal. Allen will become the second Black female director of the hit series that stars the amazing Kerry Washington. Middle of Nowhere director Ava DuVernay directed a critically-acclaimed and highly-watched episode of the popular series earlier this season.
I am soooo here for Ms. Jenifer Lewis. Bravo and congratulations to Lewis, Debbie Allen, Nathan Hale Williams—"Haaay"—and the entire Ventura Blvd team. Watch the trailer to the cult classic Jackie's Back! and Lewis' brilliant advice to aspiring actors at the premiere of Baggage ClaimAFTER THE JUMP ...
It's not officially Christmas until one of the greatest traditions in late night television occurs each holiday season on Late Night With David Letterman: The oh-so-fabulous Darlene Love performs "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" accompanied by a strings, horns, back-up singers and an incredible saxophone accompaniment.
The late night tradition began in 1986. Friday night was Ms. Love's 27th annual appearance to sing the Phil Spector holiday classic. This year's performance by the 70-year-old Ms. Love was powerful and a tremendous joy to experience. Watch this weekend's fantastic concert and a mash-up of her best performances AFTER THE JUMP ...
PBS will premiere a new documentary tonight that profiles young playwrights Tarell Alvin McCraney and Rajiv Joseph. McCraney is the super-talented 32-year-old Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright sometimes described as the "heir" to August Wilson's legacy. McCraney—who is openly gay—is also one of the 24 winners of the 2013 MacArthur Fellows.
Playwright: From Page to Stage will be broadcast tonight on PBS’s Independent Lens. The documentary is largely by the numbers but does feature several "candid moments that go deeper than we’re used to seeing," writes Neil Genzlinger in his review at The New York Times.
The film focuses on Rajiv Joseph and his Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” and Tarell Alvin McCraney and his trilogy The Brother/Sister Plays. We see Mr. McCraney’s work as it is being produced at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, N.J., in 2009.
The film does pick up substance in a couple of spots. At the McCarter, several of the principals wonder bluntly how Mr. McCraney’s work will be received by the theater’s older, largely white audience, since Mr. McCraney is young, gay and black, and his trilogy is drawn from his world. And when it seems likely that Mr. Joseph’s play will transfer to Broadway, those involved with the West Coast production talk glumly about the celebrity-driven reality of Broadway and contemplate who is likely to be replaced. Robin Williams was pretty good in the tiger role in the Broadway production, but you have to feel sorry for Kevin Tighe, the original tiger.
McCraney is only momentarily seen in two of the four online previews offered by PBS—which focus on Rajiv Joseph's productions and Robin Williams. Maybe the documentary or the preview page were completed before McCraney's "Genius" grant. Maybe. But there are a number of videos produced by the McCarter Theater that feature McCraney discussing his influences and his craft. Watch two AFTER THE JUMP ...
Here is your first look at the newest full-length trailer for FOX's Almost Human, the new futuristic television series from J.J. Abrams and Fringe's J.H. Wyman.
Michael Ealy is cast as the android partner of a Los Angeles Police Department officer portrayed by Karl Urban. Ealy apparently understands life and humanity much more than many humans. Almost Human will debut in a two-night series premiere November 17 and 18 on FOX.
FOX relased a very nice poster for the series at Comic-Con. Watch the new trailer and a behind-the-scenes feature on the so-called "ro-bromance" WHEN YOU JUMP ...
Former High School Musical-tween-sensation-turned-One Life To Live star Corbin Bleu has joined the cast of the hit series Dancing with the Stars. CB appeared on The Ellen Show to perform with DWTS partner Karina Smirnoff. It's very obvious that the abtastic 24-year-old has been eating his spinach and hitting the weights ....
Corbin Bleu also volunteered to strip down to hot pink swimwear to get soaking wet in Ellen's "Splash Tank." The game benefits breast cancer research charity. CB is stunning in pink.
More screencaps, more of CB's megawatt Colgate smile and watch both segments WHEN YOU JUMP ...
Newark Mayor and New Jersey's newly-minted United States Senator-Elect Cory Booker says he will continue his record of bipartisanship once he starts working in Washington.
"We [re]built New Jersey's biggest city Newark on bipartisanship," said the Senator-Elect this afternoon on CNN. Republican Governor Chris Christie "and I probably disagree on more stuff than we agree on. ... But the reality is this is my history. People said it couldn't be done and that the problems were too big. But we did it and I hope to join with others in Washington in a bipartisan spirit."
Will Booker make a "big splash" in the Senate a la Rand Paul and Elizabeth Warren? Or will he choose a more "cautious" path, asked the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jonathan Tamari.
Booker will enter the chamber with assets few new senators enjoy: a national following, star-studded support, and a talent for theatrics. He's a dynamic figure with 1.4 million Twitter followers, cross-cultural appeal and is more well-known than most of his new peers. But after pitching himself as a single-handed force for change, Booker is joining an institution that over recent weeks has been a picture of snarled dysfunction.
It's also a body where newcomers are told to wait their turn, and where arcane rules, winding processes and unending roadblocks often chafe ex-mayors, governors and business leaders who are used to setting their own agenda - perhaps helping to explain why only nine of the 100 current senators have been mayors. ...
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a former mayor, said, "it's very, very different, and it takes a lot of adjustment."
Something tells me that Sen. Booker will do just fine. Watch the interview AFTER THE JUMP ...