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Jonathan Groff: ‘Look at me now, Mrs. Evans’

Tony-nominated gay actor is all over town and your TV

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Jonathan Groff’s star is ascendant. (Photo courtesy PBS)

Hollywood is simply in love with Broadway darling Jonathan Groff. With two Tony Award nominations—for the uber popular “Spring Awakening” and “Hamilton,” under his belt, the versatile actor/singer has also been in FOX’s “Glee,” HBO’s “Looking,” and the theatrical animated feature, “Frozen.”

It’s no wonder then, why Out magazine recently named Groff Entertainer of The Year.

During the magazine’s interview, Groff talked about his latest endeavor: starring as a straight FBI agent investigating serial killers in the 1970s, on Netflix’s psychological drama, “Mindhunter.”

“His sexuality is a huge part of the story, because Holden is having his sexual awakening while talking to psycho-sexual killers, which is such a bizarre and interesting character arc.”

He continued: “I think one of the benefits of being out is that you can share your stories, be who you are, and put yourself in the work regardless.”

At a panel for the recent Television Critics Press Tour, Groff performed and chatted about “Live From Lincoln Center” a new PBS miniseries, in which he is guest starring. The series tapes in about a month and will air in the spring.

When asked if he loved theater more than acting in television, Groff said: “I really like theater. It sounds so cliché, but it is what I started doing as a kid, and it’s where my heart is. I really do love it, and having moments like this to perform live is really exciting for me.

“And when you get to do a show and tell the story from beginning to end in one night, it’s so satisfying. As an actor in the theater, you’re in charge of your final edit, which is also so exciting.”

Groff compared the experience of doing film and television, to being in the mind of the showrunner or the director.

“So much of the final product has nothing to do with you.  On set, you get to give a bunch of different versions of something, and then they sort of cut it together and piece it together.  But in the moments when I’m on set and I’m discovering a character and learning about a character, it’s so exciting because of sound purposes and whatever.  It’s completely silent… it’s like that bell rings or whatever and the boom goes up, and then it’s action, and between action and cut, it feels like anything can happen.

“And there’s this hyper-awareness and energy and excitement and anticipation. Because even though it’s not a live audience, the moment of creating something on film is so quiet, and the camera is right here, and it’s so intimate and so vulnerable and so personal that I do get that kind of excited feeling on set, even though there isn’t a live audience.”

“So it’s obviously very different, and I like them both, but my heart does flutter on set like it does in front of a live audience.”

For all of his success Groff has remained confident but humble.

“My first Broadway show was ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ and I remember Mrs. Evans, who was teaching fifth grade, was like, ‘Someday, Jonathan, you are going to be in the pit playing your trumpet. And I remember listening to her and being, like, in my mind — I didn’t say it to her. I didn’t have the balls or even the knowledge to say it, but in my mind, I was like, ‘No, no.  Not in the pit. I’m going to be on stage.’ I had a feeling. That was fifth grade. It’s so weird.”

As for the future, Groff remains open to special opportunities.

“ I don’t have a dream role…I’ve never had one.  I just want to keep working on good stuff with people that I respect and have a lifetime of that. That would be my ultimate dream, just to always have something great to sink my teeth into that was inspiring and surprising and challenging and fun. That would be my ultimate — that’s my dream.”

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‘Jeopardy!’ champ helps 83-year-old accept Trans people

Schneider recognized the challenges that come with being an openly Trans woman on national TV, but noted: “I thought it would be worse”

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Amy Schneider (Courtesy of Sony Television & Pictures Corp.)

OAKLAND – Trans “Jeopardy!” champion Amy Schneider, the most winning woman in the show’s history, opened up in a recent interview about learning that her TV presence helped an 83-year-old man learn to accept Trans people. 

In an interview with NPR, Schneider recognized the challenges that come with being an openly Trans woman on national TV, but noted: “I thought it would be worse.”

Though Schneider has dealt with her fair share of transphobic comments on the internet, she told NPR’s Ari Shapiro that she stays out of the comment sections because it’s better for her mental health. 

However, she did recall receiving one Twitter post that highlighted the positive impact of her visibility. 

“After two to three years of conversation, you being on “Jeopardy!” every night has taught my dad to be accepting of Trans people,” the post said, according to Schneider. “You’re the first person he’s used correct pronouns with, an 83-year-old man saying, this isn’t too hard. Thanks for your message of love.” 

“That is just one of the best things I could hear,” Schneider said. “And that I’ve been able to do that, give people that experience – and if I’m helping them, that’s what I want to do most of all.”

On Friday, Schneider won her 33rd straight game, the third-longest winning streak in “Jeopardy!” history, amassing $1,111,800 in winnings.

Recently, the history-making contestant returned to Twitter after a brief hiatus sparked by being robbed at gunpoint over the New Year’s weekend. 

“Hi all! So, first off: I’m fine. But I got robbed yesterday, lost my ID, credit cards, and phone,” she said, adding: “So, I doubt I’ll even start writing tonight’s game thread today, and if I keep winning, it may take a bit for me to get caught up. Thanks for your patience!”

Schneider, an engineering manager from Oakland, has been an inspiration to many during her historic run on the show. 

“Seeing Trans people anywhere in society that you haven’t seen them before is so valuable for the kids right now that are seeing it,” she told ABC affiliate KGO-TV in November, adding: “I’m so grateful that I am giving some nerdy little Trans kid somewhere the realization that this is something they could do, too.”

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Online Culture

Tom Daley: Bad Dad Jokes!

Terrible jokes, but I love them! Not sure if Lance does…

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Los Angeles Blade Screenshot via YouTube

LONDON – British Olympian and gold medalist diver Tom Daley along with his husband D. Lance Black pass along some really terrible ‘Dad’ jokes.

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Celebrity News

Out Trans Munroe Bergdorf is covergirl as Cosmopolitan UK celebrates 50

“I believe the people want trans inclusion, racial equality, to end misogyny so women and girls feel safe walking home at night”

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Courtesy of Cosmopolitan UK

LONDON – Starting this upcoming Friday, January 21, customers standing in the queue at checkout tills and newsstands across the United Kingdom will be greeted by the sight of model and Out Trans activist Munroe Bergdof smiling back at them from the cover of the 50th anniversary special edition issue of Cosmopolitan UK.

In the cover story interview conducted by PinkNewsUK gender and identity journalist Vic Parsons, Salvadoran-American filmmaker, actor, model, and intersex rights activist River Gallo, along with writer, stylist and consultant Aja Barber, Bergdof discusses career, climate change and global warming, cancel culture, pronouns and the future of Trans rights.

“I hope there’s a young trans girl looking at this cover thinking: ‘I can do it too and who I am is not going to hold me back,’” she says.

Bergdorf adds: “I believe the people want trans inclusion, racial equality, to end misogyny so women and girls feel safe walking home at night.”

“I don’t think we have ever been as enlightened as a people as we are now, even if there is a lot of misinformation around. I do feel like the spark has been lit. Less people are passively accepting what they have been presented with and that’s an incredible thing.”

In a commentary piece written for London-based fashion and cultural media outlet Grazia in February 2018, Bergdorf noted;

A woman is more than a vagina, than her ability to bear children, the gender she was assigned at birth, a socio-economic class, marital status or sexual history – yet every one of these points has been used to define and control a woman’s place in society. This is why feminism must serve as an inclusive tool of liberation for all female identities and experiences, not just some. This is where so many women are still getting it wrong.”

[…]

I long to see more cisgender women in positions of influence standing up for trans women, making people aware of issues that may not affect all of us, but that we should all care about deeply.

[…]

We must learn to see all women’s experiences as worthy of being listened to within feminist discourse. Because the fact is not all women possess a functioning reproductive system, not all women have a vagina, not all women’s vaginas are pink. So, when ‘pink pussies’ are used as imagery intended to unify all women, what they are actually doing is excluding a large amount of women from feeling like they have a voice within feminism.”

Bergdof deleted her Twitter account due to the torrent of transphobic abuse she received on the social media platform PinkNewsUK reported.

“Tired of being a punching bag. Twitter is not a safe app for transgender people,” she wrote.

The activist called on social media platforms take more action to combat the abuse directed at transgender people and women online.

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