Friday, July 16, 2010

News and Pop Culture Round-Up

Kellan Lutz: Package Watch

Oh how I love summertime. Kellan Lutz was seen walking with his dogs in Van Nuys, CA earlier today. He seemed to be packing quite a bit in his shorts, other than the obvious. (Socialitelife)

DC's gay marriage law survives court challenge
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals effectively upheld gay marriage in the nation's capital by legitimizing the city's decision to block a popular vote on the issue. In a 5-4 decision published Thursday, the court agreed that Washington's Board of Elections and Ethics had the right to deny an initiative measure on the city's recently passed law legalizing same-sex marriage. Opponents of the law, led by area pastors, were confident that the majority of Washingtonians would have voted against gay marriage if given the chance. READ MORE

Student protests dismissal of anti-gay instructor of Catholicism
A University of Illinois graduate student is protesting the dismissal of an adjunct professor from teaching classes on Catholicism. Eli Lazar, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, said he is upset about the dismissal of Kenneth Howell,who taught in the UI's Department of Religion, and he wants to raise awareness of the issue among UI students. Howell was told he will no longer teach courses on Catholicism after a student complained about a discussion of homosexuality in which Howell taught that the Catholic Church believes homosexual acts are morally wrong. Howell claims the actions of the UI are a violation of his academic freedom. Lazar and a group of students put up fliers on bulletin boards in campus buildings. One of them says, "Professors Beware. Teaching your course could cost you your career." They also chalked the sidewalks on the Quad, with the phrase, "Search 'Save Dr. Ken' on Facebook." A post on the Facebook page says supporters are also organizing a vigil for Howell. READ MORE

BP's Oil Spill: Gulf geyser stops gushing, but will it hold?

Now the wait begins. BP has finally gained control over one of America's biggest environmental catastrophes by placing a carefully fitted cap over a runaway geyser that has been gushing crude into the Gulf of Mexico since early spring. Engineers, politicians and Gulf residents will watch anxiously over the next day and a half to see if it holds. After nearly three months and up to 184 million gallons, the accomplishment was greeted with hope, high expectations — and, in many cases along the beleaguered coastline, disbelief. But no one is declaring victory just yet. The next hours will be critical. Engineers and scientists will be monitoring the cap around the clock, looking for pressure changes. (AP)

ESPY Awards: Where Hollywood & Sports World Collide

"There's something about the combination of sports and Hollywood that really lubes my chassis (huh?). So where better to watch than the annual ESPY Awards, which offer the best of both worlds," writes Kenneth in the 212. See more pics from the event here!

Teen drama 'Degrassi' tackles transgender storyline in upcoming season

"Degrassi" marks a decade of unexpected pregnancies, underage drinking, broken hearts and general angst-ridden rebellion with a new season Monday that introduces its first transgender character. The Canadian teen drama promises to enter uncharted ground with a storyline in which a new student, Adam, presents himself as a boy even though he was born a girl. "I can truly say that when we decided to do this episode we realized this is brand new territory for us," says producer, director and actor Stefan Brogren, whose character Mr. Simpson returns as school principal. "We've never even tried to breach this subject before. Of course we've dealt with gay and lesbian stories but you can't approach this the same way." The new student is played by former "Life With Derek" star Jordan Todosey (pictured), a bubbly 15-year-old who says she had to chop off long blond locks, darken her hair and adopt a more boyish swagger to pull off the role. "The writing is good, they really go there with that kind of stuff and I think that this character can really speak for anybody who is outcast or bullied or transgender or anything like that," Todosey said from the Toronto set earlier this year, after shooting a violent confrontation with school bullies. (CP)

UPDATE: John Stamos' extortionists -- guilty as charged

The Michigan couple accused of to extort $680,000 trying from John Stamos -- claiming they had photos of the actor with strippers and cocaine -- was found guilty today ... and now face 5 years in prison. 24-year-old Allison Coss and 31-year-old Scott Sippola were convicted of conspiracy -- as well as threatening Stamos' reputation via email. Stamos sounded alarms back in December that he was the victim of an extortion attempt -- prompting an FBI sting operation that resulted in the couple's arrest at a Michigan airport. FBI agents testified that they never found any photos of Stamos getting down and dirty with strippers -- and Stamos' attorney claims they don't exist. (TMZ)

Vienna tells ex-boyfriend "Jake [TV's The Bachelor] is obviously gay"

Hunky Bachelor star Jake Pavelka’s sexual preference has been under the microscope since his very public breakup with his fiance Vienna Girardi. But has exclusively learned that long before Jake was labeled gay in public, Vienna was already outing him to her ex. “Who wouldn’t want to touch me? He’s obviously gay,” Vienna told her ex-boyfriend Brian Lee Smith while she was still living with Jake. was the first to report the shocking news that Jake refused to have sex with Vienna during the final six months of their rocky relationship. Smith told that Vienna had some very harsh words for her then-fiance. “He cries too much like a b*tch!” Brian revealed “I really think he’s gay.” Jake has emphatically denied being gay, but Vienna’s bedroom revelations have kept the controversy alive. (FPOnline)

Korean geneticists create lesbian mice

The idea of a "gay gene" has been something of a hot-button issue, with anti-gay activists insisting that there is no genetic basis for homosexuality and that gays are sexually attracted to people of the same gender as a "lifestyle choice." That claim, however, is contradicted by science. While no "gay gene" has yet been pinpointed, evidence points to a physiological basis for homosexuality. Moreover, intriguing new research carried out in Korea shows that there might indeed be a genetic basis for homosexuality, at least in mice--not by the presence of a specific "gay gene," but rather due to the deletion of a gene. The female mice shunned sexual contact with male mice, and displayed sexual interest in other females. READ MORE

"The Oprah Winfrey Show" hits an all-time ratings low

"The Oprah Winfrey Show" hit an all-time ratings low for the week of June 28, averaging a 2.9 -- the first time in the show's 24-year history it fell below the 3.0 mark. "Oprah" averaged 3.8 million viewers -- good enough for eighth among all syndicated shows but almost 2 million viewers less than daytime's reigning champ, "Judge Judy," which has now beaten "Oprah" 14 out of the past 16 weeks. "Oprah" was also down 15 percent from the previous week and was off 9 percent from the same week last year. To be fair, it was the week leading into a holiday and "Oprah" has been in repeats since May -- but so has nearly every other daytime show in the summer season. The week of June 28 also included preemptions for Wimbledon tennis on NBC stations. "Oprah," which airs mostly on ABC stations, especially in the larger markets, was preempted in 14 markets. "Oprah" is entering its 25th and final season. "Although the ratings for our summer reruns have declined since last year, 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' continues to hold its place as the No. 1 daytime talk show for the last 24 years," a spokesman said yesterday. (New York Post)

Robbie Williams rejoins pop group "Take That" on new album
Singer Robbie Williams and Take That have recorded a new album, the group has confirmed. It is the first time all five members have worked together since Williams quit 15 years ago. The singer said he was "embarrassingly excited" and reuniting with his former group felt like "coming home" while bandmate Mark Owen added that it "feels like a dream". All five singers have written the songs for the record, due out in November. Owen said: "Getting the five of us to be in a room together, although always a dream, never actually seemed like becoming a reality. "Now the reality of the five of us making a record together feels like a dream. It's been an absolute delight spending time with Rob again. But I'm still a better footballer." Jason Orange said it was "absolutely brilliant," adding, "I'm over the moon that Robbie's back with us, however long it lasts. I just want to enjoy our time with him. Life is beautifully strange sometimes." (BBC)

Singer Pink falls onto barricade during concert, rushed to hospital

Singer Pink suffered a painful mishap onstage at a Nurnberg, Germany concert on Thursday. While suspended in a harness, the star fell onto a steel barricade, ending the show immediately. She Tweeted from the ambulance: "to all my nurnberg fans...I am embarassed and very sorry. I'm in ambulance now but I will b fine." The star (real name: Alecia Moore), 30, explained how it all happened: "didn't get clipped in2 harness correctly,drug me off stage, fell in2 barricade " Indeed, she later confirmed she checked out just fine: "nothings broken, no fluid in the lungs, just seriously sore. I made that barricade my b*tch!!!" Thanx nurnberg :( " (US)

Ancient ship unearthed at World Trade Center site

The decayed hull of a centuries old ship was unearthed at the World Trade Center construction site in New York city, providing a glimpse into the history of Manhattan, archeologists said. Parts of lower Manhattan, including the twin towers which fell on September 11, 2001 when two hijacked aircraft crashed into them, were built over the Hudson River, archeologist Michael Pappalardo told reporters gathered at the site. The ship, Pappalardo explained, likely dated back at least 200 years when part of the river was filled in with trash, debris and wooden beams in order to expand a fast-growing Manhattan. The 32-foot long (9.7 meter) craft was discovered on Tuesday and made public late on Wednesday. Many other kinds of antique debris have also been found. Pappalardo, a muddy trowel in his back pocket, said the discovery was indeed a good find, but added "we've found bottles and dishes, and that's exciting too." (Reuters)

ABC gives evasive statement to following GLAAD criticism of problematic segment on The View

The June 22 broadcast of The View featured hosts Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd, along with guest hosts D.L. Hughley and Thomas Roberts. During the “Hot Topics” segment, Shepherd and Hughley blamed African American gay and bisexual men for increased HIV rates among straight African American women. After weeks of silence on this issue, ABC has finally issued a public statement — but unfortunately, the network still has not corrected the inaccurate information broadcast into millions of homes. Read ABC's evasive statement here.

Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern

Ryan Reynolds stars as Hal Jordan, a cocky test pilot who becomes a ring-wearing intergalactic superhero in this massive sci-fi epic from director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale). Though Reynolds has prior experience in the superhero realm from his role as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, playing Green Lantern involved some major challenges, like getting hurled through the air on a wire at up to 60 feet per second to create the illusion of flight. “The first time you do it, you’re seriously considering an adult diaper,” Reynolds says. Still, he couldn’t resist the chance to play the beloved DC Comics hero, whose power ring can conjure virtually anything he can dream up. “Will and imagination are his superpowers,” Reynolds says. “We need a circus of Timothy Learys to think of things Hal would invent with his ring.” (Entertainment Weekly)

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