Friday, September 19, 2008

News and Pop Culture Round-Up

What happened to Matthew McConaughey's 'Surfer, Dude?'
What happened? Seems Dude was little more than a $6 million passion project for the actor, and even the promise of his shirtless surfing couldn't entice studios to release it -- especially since we all see the same thing on the Internet every day. So he turned to Anchor Bay, a direct-to-DVD company that gave it a limited theatrical run with no TV ads to support it. (The DVD will follow in December.) That was probably a good idea: Dude's Metacritic score is a depressing 16 out of 100, which proves that no amount of pecs appeal could have saved this wipeout.

Charges against disgraced U.S. Representative Mark Foley unlikely: After an exhaustive two-year investigation, former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley isn’t expected to face charges for sending salacious messages to underage [male] pages, two federal law enforcement officials have told The Associated Press. Foley’s attorney, David Roth, has acknowledged that Foley sent the messages to the teens, but says the Florida Republican never had inappropriate contact with minors. Roth had no comment on the pending announcement. In the wake of Foley’s resignation, Roth announced Foley was gay and had been molested by a priest as a teenage altar boy. Foley also checked himself into an Arizona treatment facility for what his attorneys called “alcoholism and other behavioral problems.” Foley represented parts of Palm Beach County for 12 years. He has kept a low profile since emerging from rehabilitation late last year but occasionally has been seen in the Palm Beach area, where he lives with his boyfriend. READ MORE

Tatum O'Neal speaks out about Ryan and Redmond's drug arrests: "I'm really worried about Redmond," the actress, 44, said Thursday. "I want them both to get better and get the help they need – especially my brother." Tatum was herself arrested in New York on June 1 for trying to buy cocaine (she eventually pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct). "[Addiction] runs in families. It's a disease," she adds. "I'm praying for both of them. I'm praying for my whole family. I hope Red will get treatment. That's what he needs. There is hope for Redmond. He deserves to have the life a [young man] – going to school, hanging out with friends, getting a job. I wish the best for him.” Ryan O'Neal, 67, and his son, Redmond, 23, were arrested Wednesday at the actor's Malibu, Calif., home after substances believed to be methamphetamines were found. "Deputies were doing a routine sweep to make sure Redmond was adhering to his probation," sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said. "Upon searching the premises, the younger O'Neal was found in possession of narcotics. Later, a vial of drugs was found in the elder O'Neal's bedroom. We believe the drugs found were methamphetamines." READ MORE

Why are McCain and Obama silent on the same-sex marriage issue?: You may love the fact that same-sex marriage is barely being talked about by the two major party candidates or their number twos. You also may think the lack of attention is annoying, considering marriage equality is a major issue in certain states. But regardless of your stance, there's definitely been a lack of chatter from either Team McCain or Team Obama in regards to the marriage bans that will be up at the polls in Florida, California, or McCain's home state of Arizona. Here's an explanation as to why the silence on gay marriage here.

Natalie Cole has suffered a medical setback and had to be hospitalized: Natalie Cole has suffered a setback in her treatment for hepatitis C and has been hospitalized in New York, PEOPLE has learned. The side effects of Cole's grueling chemotherapy treatment for the liver disease, paired with a strenuous promotional schedule in support of her just-released new album Still Unforgettable, are what led to the Grammy winner's hospitalization, her reps tell PEOPLE exclusively. Cole, 58, was diagnosed with the liver disease in April and has been free of the hepatitis C virus since starting treatment this summer. Doctors believe she contracted the virus 25 years ago when she abused heroin, which she documented in her 2000 autobiography Angel On My Shoulder.

Man accused of murdering trans teenager (Angie Zapata) to stand trial for hate crime: A judge in Colorado has ruled that a 31 year old man will stand trial for the first degree murder of an 18 year old trans woman [Angie Zapata, pictured] and a "bias-motivated crime." Allen Andrade will also be charged with stealing the victim's car and debit card. Angie Zapata's sister found her in her apartment in Greeley, Colorado. She had been beaten to death on July 17 and covered with a blanket. Police arrested Allen Ray Andrade after responding to a noise complaint and finding him in the stolen car about 50 miles away from the murder scene. It will be the first murder in Weld County to be prosecuted as a hate crime. In 2005 a new law added protections for people based on sexual orientation, including "transgender status," to Colorado's "bias-motivated crimes" statute. READ MORE

This is your nation on white privilage: White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action. White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.” READ MORE

Cynthia Nixon praises Brad Pitt for supporting gay marriage: "I think it's great," the actress said Thursday at a DVD premiere party for the Sex and the City movie in New York. Nixon, who has said she'd marry her longtime girlfriend Christine Marinoni if gay marriage were legal in New York, applauded Pitt's recent donation to fight Proposition 8 – a ballot initiative that, if passed, would make same-sex marriages illegal in California. "I think the way Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie always give their money, and the things they give it to, and the enormous amounts they give of it is just incredibly commendable," Nixon, 42, adds. "I think they inspire other people to give as well."

A growing population of lesbian and gay senior citizens seeks recognition for their unique needs and challenges: "In many ways, this population is a mirror opposite of what the mainstream aging community looks like," says Karen Taylor, director of advocacy and training for the New York-based Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders, or SAGE, the nation's oldest senior network. "The average senior in the United States lives with one other person; two-thirds of LGBT seniors live alone. If you don't have those informal support networks built into your life, then everything else becomes a bigger issue. Who forces you to go to the doctor? What happens if you fall?" READ MORE

What are the hottest songs from the last 50 years? In honor of the 50th anniversary of Billboard's Hot 100 chart, the magazine has put together their "definitive list of the Hot 100's top 100 songs from the chart's first 50 years" (August 1958 through July 2008). While perusing the list (and wondering why some of the newer songs I have never heard of, let alone heard ... pfft, kids today), I noticed quite a few Academy Award winning Best Original Songs, as well as a few nominees as well. READ MORE

Utah philanthropist kicks in $1M to fight California gay-marriage ban: Close to 40 residents and businesses in Utah have made donations totaling $120,550 to support the marriage-between-a-man-and-a-woman ballot measure, according to public finance records for, which shows up as a link on the official Web site for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But in one fell swoop, Orem resident and WordPerfect co-founder Bruce Bastian has trumped their efforts - almost tenfold. He gave a whopping $1 million to the Human Right Campaign's "No on Prop. 8" committee. Bastian, a former Mormon and openly gay man, said he, too, was prompted by the LDS Church to donate - but to the other side. He gave a more modest $5,000 check to the cause in May, but upped the ante in July after the church issued a formal statement, backing the ballot measure. "The LDS Church has no business stepping their big nose in something that's a legal matter, not a religious matter," Bastian said. "Constitutions are meant to protect minorities - not to take rights away from people."

Chicago to get GLBT highschool? Weeks after a proposal to open Chicago's first public high school catering to gay, lesbian and transgender youth was announced, about 200 people on Thursday met with administrators at the city's main gay social services center to discuss whether it's a good idea. "[We want] to continue to provide a college-prep campus for students who are often overlooked," said Chad Weiden, an assistant principal at the Social Justice High School who would be the principal of Pride Campus. "Gay, lesbian and transgender students are often overlooked in our district. And this is a school for all students." READ MORE

University of Wyoming to dedicate bench to Matthew Shepard: The University of Wyoming in Laramie is planning to dedicate a bench in memory of Matthew Shepard, the UW student who was murdered 10 years ago in an antigay hate crime. UW president Tom Buchanan and Judy Shepard -- Matthew's mother and executive director of the nonprofit Matthew Shepard Foundation -- will attend and speak at the bench dedication September 27 at 10 a.m. The bench is already set up at Quealy Plaza on the UW campus and includes a plaque that bears Shepard's full name (Matthew Wayne Shepard), birthday (December 1, 1976), and date of death (October 12, 1998). The plaque describes Shepard as a "beloved son, brother, and friend ... he continues to make a difference ... peace be with him and all who sit here." A decade after Shepard was lured out of a Laramie bar by Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney and then tied to a post, beaten, and left to die by the two men, the bench stands as the only public testament to Shepard in Laramie.

20,000 expected at Taipei gay pride on Sept 27: Into its sixth year of running, Taipei LGBT Pride Parade is making its impact felt in Asia with the largest turnout of 15,000 last year. Fridae's Taipei correspondent Jason Tan talks to the organisers of this year's parade and finds out if there would be any surprises awaiting the community. "Let the diversity show its face" is the theme of this year's Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade, the largest march of its kind in Asia. This year, the parade aims to reach out to "LGBTS" - with the "S" referring to "straights" or heterosexuals. "We hope to include the target participants this year to those who acknowledge the existence of LGBT," said Lu Xin-jie at Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association, one of the organisers. READ MORE

KT Tunstall weds her drummer boy on the Isle of Skye: It resembled a music festival rather than a wedding, with folk-singing guests and outdoor chemical toilets. But yesterday Scots singer KT Tunstall married her fiance, drummer Luke Bullen, on the Isle of Skye. The 33-year-old from Fife exchanged her vows in a marquee overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Miss Tunstall chose Skye for her big day after falling in love with the island while on holiday there. For their honeymoon, the couple plan a backpacking trip around the world, heading off to South America, India and New Zealand. MORE PHOTOS

Star Trek actor George Takei marries long-time partner Brad Altman: Former Star Trek actor George Takei has married his partner in a Buddhist ceremony in Los Angeles. Takei, 71, who played Mr Sulu in the sci-fi series, married business manager Brad Altman, 54, in front of a number of his Star Trek co-stars. They included best man Walter Koenig, who played Chekhov, and matron-of-honour Nichelle Nichols - Uhura. The wedding - at Japanese American National Museum - came after California lifted a ban on same-sex marriage. The couple, who have been together for 21 years, wore matching white tuxedos in the ceremony. Takei, who recently appeared in US TV show Heroes, said in his vows that Altman was "an organised, detailed-obsessed, punctuality-driven control freak". "I'm easygoing so we're a good fit," he added. READ MORE

Oprah Winfrey to guest-star on 30 Rock: Oprah Winfrey will guest-star on the Nov. 6 episode of NBC's Emmy-winning sitcom 30 Rock, the network announced Thursday. Winfrey, 54, filmed her role last Saturday at the Silvercup Studios in Queens, N.Y., and it is being billed as one-shot appearance. "Oprah Winfrey's presence on 30 Rock makes this episode a television event," Teri Weinberg, executive vice president, NBC Entertainment, said in a statement. "She is a true legend in her own time, and in this comedy's tradition, it provides the perfect showcase for stars of her renowned status. We are all thrilled." Though she didn't say whether or not the talk-show host plays herself or some other part, the 30 Rock's creator, executive and star, Tina Fey, does add: "Oprah is very funny in the episode, and we are beyond grateful to have her. Also, I would like to announce that we are officially best friends."

Judge rules that a Washington man who quit his job to care for his dying, same-sex domestic partner is entitled to unemployment benefits: State law lets a worker leave a job for "good cause" and receive benefits for 11 reasons. Those include a death, an illness or a disability affecting the person's immediate family, according to the Northwest Women's Law Center's Unemployment Law Project. In his ruling, Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks found that in the case of Dean Lake, the definition of immediate family included Lake's domestic partner of 12 years, Tony Sisneros. Lake had quit his job to care for Sisneros, who had terminal brain cancer and died in September 2007, according to the law center. "The Employment Security Act, read in its entirety, includes stable domestic partnerships within the definition of 'immediate family' " under two pertinent laws, Hicks said in a one-page, handwritten order entered into the Superior Court record Friday. The ruling appeared to be the first to address the issue of same-sex domestic partners, said Janet Chung of the law center. But Employment Security spokesman Mark Varadian said the ruling "doesn't apply beyond this particular case," and the agency "would still be looking at cases like this on a case-by-case basis." READ MORE