The ABCs of 2014

By : Kirk Hartlage
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Another year has wrapped, and that means it’s time to look back at what made 2014 memorable in the world of pop culture. So what were the ABCs of 2014?

Ass: Kim Kardashian got cheeky for Paper magazine, Charlie Hunnam’s backside went front and center on Sons of Anarchy, and Ben Affleck even flashed moviegoers in Gone Girl. But getting the most tail this year was everyone’s ears, thanks to Meghan Trainor (“All About That Bass”), Jennifer Lopez (“Booty”), and Nikki Minaj (“Anaconda”), who assaulted playlists with their ass-tastic songs.

Buccaneers: The Tampa Bay Bucs hosted the first ever LGBT Community Game Day in October at Raymond James Stadium.

Country Comes Out: Singers Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman each came out this year. Herndon said both his ex-wives knew he was gay and that his marriages were used to hide his true sexuality.

Demi Lovato: How did Demi Lovato “Let It Go” when her version of the Frozen track was bypassed by Disney execs over Idina Menzel’s original? She released “Really Don’t Care” as a single and filmed the video at the LA Pride Parade.

Ellen Page: Not only did PETA name her this year’s sexiest vegan (along with Jared Leto) for not eating meat, she also came out as a lesbian. Coincidence?

Film Festival: The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival celebrated 25 amazing years at the Tampa Theater in October.

Grammy Awards: Adele’s openly gay male alter ego Sam Smith was poised to follow in his fellow Brit crooner’s footsteps with numerous nominations, and not just because his In The Lonely Hour re-opened flood gates of tears from people who’d finally stopped sobbing after listening to 21 for the past three years.

How To Get Away With Murder: Bringing Queer As Folk-styled gay sex scenes (circa early 2000’s, via Showtime) to mainstream network television in 2014.

Idina Menzel: We’ve known—and loved—Menzel since her work in Rent and Wicked on Broadway. And even if “Let It Go” now sends shivers down the spine in a bad way, it’s hard to deny Menzel’s success with the song (it’s Disney’s first animated movie radio hit in almost two decades).

Joan Rivers: The LGBT community lost one of its best straight allies with Rivers’ passing in September.

Kevin Spacey: House of Cards gave Netflix viewers a threesome between Vice President Frank Underwood (Spacey), Second Lady Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), and their Secret Service bodyguard Edward Meechum (Nathan Darrow), while reigniting the debate on Spacey’s sexuality.

Laverne Cox: The actress went on to become the first openly trans person to be nominated for an Emmy, and was the first trans person to appear on the cover of Time magazine.

Michael Sam: With a kiss seen around the world, the defensive end celebrated being drafted by the Saint Louis Rams on live television by kissing his boyfriend.

Neil Patrick Harris: Where wasn’t NPH in 2014? He wrapped up a five-year run on How I Met Your Mother, won a Tony for Hedwig and The Angry Inch, surprised moviegoers in Gone Girl, published Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography, and was selected to host the 2015 Oscars. Oh, and he married his longtime partner David Burka, with their twins Gideon and Harper in attendance.

Olympics: Though host country Russia was taken to task for its abysmal human rights policies toward gays and lesbians, the Sochi Winter Games were a not-to-be-missed spectacle.

Purple: It’s especially appropriate that it’s the official color of both the anti-bullying campaign and the newly anointed Orlando City Major League Soccer Team. In attempting to use claims of eminent domain against the Faith Deliverance Temple—sitting smack-dab in the middle of its plans for the team’s new stadium—the City of Orlando was hit with charges of bullying the church. So, instead, the City moved the stadium one block West, putting it right next door to the more welcoming arms—and eyeballs—of Stonewall Bar and its patrons.

Remakes: While radio played a non-stop mix of musical up-starts and destined-to-become one-hit-wonders, a trio of legendary divas each released cover albums showcasing their vocal talents with classic songs. Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, which, by her take, included the likes of Gladys Knight, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Alicia Keys and Adele. Nostalgia was Annie Lennox’s haunting take on the Great American Songbook. And Lady Gaga went Cheek to Cheek with Tony Bennett for an album of jazz standards. Remakes at the box office were generally less well-received, thanks to re-dos of Robocop, About Last Night, Endless Love and Annie.

Sequels: Serialized storytelling on the silver screen was seen in The Hunger Games—Mockingjay Part 1, How To Train Your Dragon 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Muppets Most Wanted, Penguins of Madagascar, Rio 2, Dolphin Tale 2, Anchorman 2, Horrible Bosses 2, 22 Jump Street, Dumb and Dumber To, Think Like A Man Too, The Purge: Anarchy, Step Up: All In, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, The Expendables 3, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.

Transgender people: Often relegated to the background in LGBT issues and causes, the transgender community took center stage this year in entertainment thanks to Amazon’s Transparent series with Jeffrey Tambor, Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch with Neil Patrick Harris, and Netflix’s Orange is the New Black with Laverne Cox.

Weir, Johnny: While the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sochi Games both had pyrotechnics, NBC’s Ice Skating commentators Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski provided their own fireworks. Their accessible analysis, made in chic fashion statements, led to future gigs at the Kentucky Derby and numerous red carpets. By year’s end they were named NBC’s lead Olympic Figure Skating broadcast team for the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

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