lgbt

Barry Manilow is gay. Surprise! Or, maybe you think it’s not so surprising. Let’s think about that.

Barry Manilow’s gayness has nothing whatsoever to do with his earnest, soft pop mellifluous ballads, nor is it in any way related to his ostentatious showiness. If Barry Manilow spent all his time in a parlor clad in the wildest of Bob Mackie’s ensembles, decorated with garish chandeliers and drawings of cocks, it wouldn’t make him gay. If he dressed in drag and performed private renditions of Cabaret with Alan Cumming, this would not make him gay. Likewise, if he went on a cruise with Cher and Kathy Griffin and drank wine spritzers for a week at Carnival in Venice, it would not make him gay. Barry Manilow’s gayness is defined by one thing only, and that is his own self identification as such.

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Eli Conley

Eli Conley suggests I order the breakfast burrito.  With a wide grin, he tells me that it’s a great vegan dish.  The Virginia native, now an East Bay resident, has a lot to smile about.  He’s finished his first full-length album, At the Seams, to be released on September 28th.  He’s setting west coast tour dates for the fall and lovin’ life at the moment.  At our small table at Herbivore, I could easily tell that Eli, the queer folk singer-songwriter with a powerful passion for music and an equally powerful voice, was anxious to unleash his music unto the world…

Your album, At the Seams, is done and about to be released.  How do you feel?

I’m super excited.  I actually got the physical CDs two months ago.  I know many musicians who had to rush at the end, not having time to master it or not having them in time for a CD release show.  So I’m like, ok, I’m recording in April and I should have them in hand by June so I have time to send them out to press.  Then I was thinking when to release it in September, and just figured ‘why not just do it on my birthday!?’

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From June 20-30, Frameline: The San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival is showing an eclectic lineup of films steeped in social, political, and sexual themes, pushing the boundaries and bringing audiences closer to the incredible stories of numerous individuals and communities, both fictional and real.  Tickets for screenings are available at http://ticketing.frameline.org/festival/.  Here is a glance at two of this year’s festival entries:

C.O.G. (USA, 2013)

Jonathan Groff is a sour apple in C.O.G.

Jonathan Groff is a sour apple in C.O.G.

Based on the unassuming essay by David Sedaris and under the steady direction of Kyle Patrick Alvarez, C.O.G. is the piercingly honest tale of a young man’s escape from his privileged Ivy-league world into the apple orchards and Christian community of a small town outside Portland, OR.  The sold out audience at the Castro Theatre laughed, cheered, sat silent, and gasped, and left with a welcome sense of renewal, as if the film’s flawed characters had challenged each of us to examine ourselves in a way we hadn’t considered for some time.

C.O.G. screened on Saturday, June 22nd.  For more info on the film, visit the film’s festival page or C.O.G.’s official website at http://www.cog-movie.com/

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