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A month of movies, just in time for Pride

Seven new movies we recommend for June viewing

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‘Discreet,’ ‘The Fabulous Allan Carr’ and ‘Hearts Beat Loud”’ are your best bets for LGBT film viewing. (Photos provided by directors Travis Mathews, Jeffrey Schwarz and Brett Haley)

Pride month in LA is all about the festival and parade, of course, but it’s also an exciting time for LGBT movie lovers as it’s also now a tradition that several new queer-centric film releases come our way in June, this year starting with a trio of titles coming out this week.

“Discreet” (opening June 1) – From writer/director Travis Mathews comes this brooding thriller about a drifter named Alex (Jonny Mars), who copes with the trauma of his childhood sexual abuse through online-guided meditation – and by finding furtive, anonymous hookups with closeted men in the adult stores and seedy motels of rural Texas.  When he discovers that his abuser (Bob Swaffar) is still alive, he enlists an unsuspecting local teen (Jordan Elsass) to aid him in a sinister plan for revenge.

A meditation on the deadly consequences of internalized homophobia, Mathews’ film is a look into a closeted lifestyle in which the most meaningful encounters must always be “discreet.”  Constructed in fragmented scenes, it eschews detailed depiction in favor of an impressionistic approach which only gives us glimpses of the ugly secrets at its core.  It leaves much to the imagination – too much, perhaps, for viewers who prefer more concrete narratives – but this is by design; it’s more of a mood piece, meant to envelop the viewer in the disconnected darkness of its deeply damaged central character and evoke the jarring rhythms of his isolated existence.

Though it manages to disturb without relying on graphic horror, the film is more successful at generating chills through political allegory – much of its unsettling tone is derived almost subliminally from the right-wing radio show that plays whenever Alex is in his van.  This undercurrent of extremist hatred seems to connect directly to the grim events of the story, turning “Discreet” into a disturbing portrait of “alt-right” America and the mentality that gave rise to the Age of Trump.

“The Fabulous Allan Carr” (VOD, June 5) – Jeffrey Schwarz – who has given us profiles of such gay icons as Vito Russo, Tab Hunter, and Divine – returns with a documentary about the self-made impresario and producer who rose from midwestern obscurity to glamorous Hollywood success before falling spectacularly from grace.  Relying on the usual mixture of archival footage and on-camera interviews with friends and associates, it presents us with a portrait of a man whose love for the escapist fantasy of Hollywood combined with his life-of-the-party personality to propel him to the heights of professional success.

Particularly interesting are the talk show clips revealing the ‘70s scenester at his flamboyant best, and the lengthy segment detailing his failure as producer of the Academy Awards – highlighting that notorious opening number that paired Snow White with Rob Lowe for a song-and-dance tribute to Old Hollywood.  However, though Schwarz manages to generate some empathy for Carr, he can never quite overcome the inescapable shallowness of his subject’s persona.  A showman who built his career on glitz and glamour, and seemed incapable of understanding why “Can’t Stop The Music” wasn’t as big a hit as “Grease,” Carr was the epitome of style over substance – and as result, the movie leaves the same inconsequential impression as the man himself.

Still, it’s a fun trip down memory lane; full of the sights and sounds of the hedonistic ‘70s scene of which Carr made sure he was an integral part, and deep-diving into the campy delights of the work he produced, the documentary is certainly a crowd-pleaser.  Schwarz is a master of blending information with entertainment, and his approach is a perfect complement to the story he is telling here.  “The Fabulous Allan Carr” may not be the director’s most satisfying work, but it’s definitely worth an evening spent watching on your couch.

“Hearts Beat Loud” (opening June 8): In the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, Frank Fisher (Nick Offerman) – a middle-aged widower whose once-successful record store is failing – has music in his blood.  It’s a love he shares with his soon-to-be-college-bound daughter, Sam (Kiersey Clemons), and, hoping to cement his connection to her before her eminent departure, he coaxes her to record a song during their weekly “jam” session and secretly uploads it to Spotify.  When it unexpectedly develops a following, Frank sees it as a chance to finally realize his lifelong dreams of musical success; but Sam, despite a blossoming relationship with her new girlfriend Rose (Sasha Lane), is anxious to leave Brooklyn and pursue her own dreams – which do not involve being in a band with her father.

Directed by Brett Haley (who also co-wrote with Marc Basch), this charming indie dramedy concentrates on character more than plot, exploring the relationship between father and daughter as they navigate the changes in their respective lives.  Their dreams both bring them together and pull them apart – and while there is never much doubt that the bond between them will survive the challenge, their journey together is engaging.  The film also scores points for its portrayal of the romance between Sam and Rose; never sensationalized or used as a point of conflict, their sexuality is merely a condition of the story – a model of positive LGBTQ inclusion in an onscreen narrative.

The always-watchable Offerman gives a characteristically fine performance, and the talented Clemons impresses as much with her powerful singing voice as with her acting; their chemistry together is perfect, making for a convincing and satisfying father-and-daughter team.  Also starring Ted Danson, Toni Colette, and Blythe Danner, “Hearts Beat Loud” is a worthy date-night addition to your Pride month schedule.

In addition to these, here are some upcoming titles to look for later in the month, with more information to come:

“Alex Strangelove”: a new gay teen rom-com Netflix is dropping for Pride month (June 8).

“Between the Shades”: a documentary about the power of labels in the LGBTQI community (Special screening at TCL Chinese Theater, June 11).

“A Kid Like Jake”: Jim Parsons and Clare Danes in a story about two parents and their gender non-conforming four-year-old (Opening June 15)

“Alone in the Game”: an inspiring documentary profiling out LGBTQ pro athletes (premiering on Direct TV, June 28).

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Sports

Brazilian gymnast & Olympian introduces his boyfriend- and comes out

Oyakawa-Mariano revealed that he is in a relationship with broadcast media marketing analyst João Otávio Tasso on Instagram

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Arthur Nory Oyakawa-Mariano at the 2021 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, Kitakyushu, Japan October 2021 (Photo Credit: Mariano Instagram)

SAO PAULO – In a post to his Instagram account last month, Brazilian Olympic Bronze medalist Arthur Nory Oyakawa-Mariano introduced the world to his boyfriend, and also came out at the same time.

The 28-year-old artistic gymnast is a member of the Brazilian national team. He won the bronze medal in floor exercise at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Oyakawa-Mariano won the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships held in Stuttgart, Germany picking up a gold medal in the horizontal bar competition.

Writing on his Instagram post, (Translated from Portuguese) on October 29, 2021, Mariano revealed that he is in a relationship with broadcast media marketing analyst João Otávio Tasso.

“Happy Birthday to the person who freaks out with me 😅 The phrase ‘in health or illness, in victory or in defeat, in joy or sadness’ never quite fit. And there we are every day walking together. Thank you for always being by my side. I will always be yours.”

“Congratulations João, many years of life and continue to be that amazing person 👀, even if Scorpio (always good to blame the sign). We’re together.”

In addition to being a professional gymnast, Oyakawa-Mariano is also an internationally signed model. In 2019, he was named the face of Philippine-based international clothing brand BENCH’s men’s wear campaign in Brazil and Latin America.

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Online Culture

Google erases part of LGBTQ+ community in new online glossary project

The tool, a glossary of 100 words that used the company’s Google Trends to track the popularity of LGBTQ+ terminology and definitions

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Graphic via VideoOut

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Ca. – A new online tool designed to help mainstream, freelance and even LGBTQ+ journalists navigate definitions of what can be a complex world of LGBTQ+ vernacular, left out definitions of bisexuality and pansexuality in a new Google “LGBTQ+ language initiative.

The Google News Initiative announced the project in partnership with VideoOut, titled the “LGBTQ+ language and media literacy program, last week in a press statement. According to the company, they partnered with Men’s Health magazine to “help contextualize the research and data in the program.” 

The tool, a glossary of 100 words that used the company’s Google Trends to track the popularity of LGBTQ+ terminology and definitions, was created with the assistance of several queer PhD linguists.

However, in a review of the glossary today, Friday, Nov. 26 the terms and definitions for bisexuality and pansexuality were missing.

According to the Google release: “It’s a way to understand the LGBTQ+ community, and hopefully, it will transform the way journalists – and all of us – write and talk about LGBTQ+ people.”

Jordan Reeves, the Executive Director of VideoOut, an LGBTQ+ nonprofit and the founder of VOE, a production company centering LGBTQ+ narratives in television and film, answered the self-asked question of; “WHY WOULD VideoOut, an LGBTQ+ nonprofit, partner with Men’s Health magazine?”

“So many people assume that Men’s Health is only for cisgender, heterosexual, masculine presenting men. I’m here to tell you, as a queer trans nonbinary human, that’s false.”

According to a recent Gallup poll, “One in six [U.S.] adults in Generation Z identifies as LGBT.” At the same time, a GLAAD report found 45% of non-LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. say they’re confused by the different number of terms to describe individuals who comprise the LGBTQ+ community.

In a response to late Friday evening, Jordan Reeves, the Executive Director of VideoOut in a direct message on Twitter told the Blade:

“Recently we launched The LGBTQ+ Language and Media Literacy Program, a living and breathing resource that we will continue to add to over time. We left out some terms and phrases at launch — bisexual, for example — that should have been included from the very beginning!

We are keenly aware of bi-erasure and the persistent confusion around bisexual identity. We are sorry we didn’t include it at luanch, but we are adding it (along with pansexual) very soon. We started with 100 entries (definitely not a comprehensive list…yet), and we are really excited to add entries as the community gives us feedback and suggestions.

We are really proud of the depth and breadth of terms that exist in the resource and hope it continues to be more and more useful as we add to it.

We’ll also be adding features so that this resource is the most useful for anyone using language about the LGBTQ+ community. If there are other words you can think of that we’ve left out, or ways to make the tool more dynamic, let us know and we’ll queue them up to be added!”

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Arts & Entertainment

2022 GRAMMYs announced & showcases LGBTQ+ narratives

“The inclusion of LGBTQ artists in this year’s nominees highlights growing shift in acceptance & dominant impact LGBTQ artists are making”

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Graphic courtesy of the Recording Academy

LOS ANGELES – The nominations for the 64th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony to be held on January 31, 2022, were announced Tuesday. Topping the list of nominees were Out Black rapper Lil Nas X for his smash gay narrative hit ‘MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)’ and Out Lesbian country/pop artist Brandi Carlile for her song ‘Right On Time.’

Lil Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, celebrated his nominations for song of the year, record of the year and best music video and thanked his fans in a string of Twitter posts.

“don’t have to win a single award, truly thankful for all the insight this year has brought me. and thankful for the journey. love u guys,” the 22-year-old rapper wrote.

LGBTQ artists who received Grammy nominations Tuesday also include pop star Halsey and singer-songwriter Arlo Parks.

“The vast inclusion of LGBTQ artists amongst this year’s Grammy nominees – including Lil Nas X, Brandi Carlile, Lady Gaga, and many others – highlights not only a growing shift in cultural acceptance, but also the dominant impact that LGBTQ artists are making across the music industry,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “With 5 total nominations, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year, Lil Nas X continues to open doors for greater LGBTQ inclusion in rap and hip-hop, which will undoubtedly inspire and empower a new generation of artists to embrace their authenticity and individuality.”

The Grammy Awards ceremony recognizes the best recordings, compositions, and artists of the eligibility year, running from September 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021.

The Recording Academy will present the 2022 GRAMMY Awards show on Mon, Jan. 31, on the CBS Television Network(opens in a new tab) and stream live and on demand on Paramount+ from 8–11:30 p.m. ET / 5–8:30 p.m. PT.

Prior to the telecast, the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony will be held at the Microsoft Theater at 12:30 p.m. PT/3:30 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on GRAMMY.com and the Recording Academy’s YouTube channel(opens in a new tab).

Entire list of nominations here

Lil Nas X – MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)

Brandi Carlile – Right On Time (Official Video)

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