Bandwagon builds for LGBTQ diversity on children’s TV

By : Wire Report
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ABOVE: Hulu’s “The Bravest Knight” is the latest children’s program to feature same-sex parents. (Image from YouTube)

NEW YORK (AP) | Wilson Cruz, a co-star in the new Hulu animated children’s series “The Bravest Knight,” describes the show’s dad couple this way: “We’re not explaining homosexuality, or same-gender sexuality. We’re talking about the love of a family.”

His words and those of his fellow Hulu father, T.R. Knight, speak loudly about the state of LGBTQ representation in TV fare for kids, a segment of media that has been broadening story lines over the last several years to include a range of non-binary characters.

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Alabama Methodist church to screen shunned ‘Arthur’ episode

By : Wire Report
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) | A Methodist church is screening an episode of the PBS children’s show “Arthur” that was shunned by Alabama Public Television for featuring a same-sex wedding.

AL.com reports that Birmingham First United Methodist Church will serve wedding cake and sparkling apple juice at its free screening of “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone” on June 15.

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The Tender Activist: How gay is The Great American Read?

By : Scottie Campbell
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I recently bought someone a book as a present. I remembered them reading the genre of book, detective mystery, in the past. I had stumbled upon the book and found myself enjoying a genre I normally wouldn’t gravitate toward. I thought by gifting the book we would share something.

To my surprise, the recipient thanked me for the book then said they hadn’t read a book in a long time. There was tired weight given to the word long. What to me is a common habit was being expressed as nearly alien to them. Caught on the judgment barometer somewhere between a mindful well-that’s-okay and an arrogant what-the-fuck, I told them they didn’t need to feel obligated to read it. They said they would give it a try.

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Still wonderful, wonderful: An interview with Johnny Mathis

By : Gregg Shapiro
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There is only one Johnny Mathis. With a career that is now in its seventh decade, Mathis has touched many generations with his distinctive vocals. Known for his hits, including “When Sunny Gets Blue,” “It’s Not For Me To Say,” “Chances Are,” “The Twelfth of Never,” “Misty,” “Wonderful! Wonderful!” and “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late”; his breathtaking interpretations of standards; and his glorious way with Christmas music; Mathis is a performer for all seasons.

Watermark: In your 2006 TV special, Johnny Mathis Live—Wonderful, Wonderful, which recently aired again on PBS, you talked about having “a lot of good memories” in spite of times in your career when you had to do 101 one-night concerts. How do you think that the experience affected you as an artist and person?

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The Zebra Coalition celebrates their first college graduate

By : Jeremy Williams
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Peter Ruiz was only 14-years-old when he had to start looking out for himself. He was living at home with his mother and siblings, and she had just moved them from New York City to Orlando. Ruiz’s mother also suffered from mental health issues.

“When we moved down here, my mother’s schizophrenia started to get worse,” Ruiz says. “From the time I was 14 until I was 16, she started to have episodes where she imagined I would physically abuse her, and she would call the cops and have me arrested.”

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Early, weighty choices in ‘Frontline’ documentary ‘Growing Up Trans’

By : Wire Report
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NEW YORK (AP) – “Growing Up Trans” explores the transgender phenomenon as younger people than ever (and their parents) now experience it: a frontier of possibilities and unknowns, and a minefield of high-stakes choices for these youngsters as they also navigate the changes adolescence brings.

Airing on the “Frontline” documentary series (June 30 on PBS; check local listings), it begins with 9-year-old Lia (formerly Liam) Hegarty, who says she transitioned when she was about 7 and now is “almost completely female.”

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Guest Column: ‘Selma’ isn’t over

By : Susan Clary
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Susan Clary

Susan Clary

I finally saw Selma. The Oscar-nominated film depicts Dr. Martin Luther King’s push for passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act—the federal legislation that was a crowning achievement of the Civil Rights Movement. Many protesters, both black and white, were sacrificed during the brutal efforts to make the 54-mile march from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery, the state capital.

The 1987 PBS documentary Eyes on the Prize chronicled the event. However, the 2014 movie directed by Ava DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo as King reveals the powerful and moving story behind Dr. King’s efforts to grab the nation’s attention.

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Embracing Our Differences nominated for WEDU award

By : Staff Report
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Tampa – A long-running program in Sarasota that encouraged the local community to embrace diversity has been nominated for an award. Embracing Our Differences is a nominee for WEDU’s 2015 Be More Enriched Award. That award acknowledges cultural organizations that contribute to the spirit of adventure, exploration and education in the regional arts scene. Other finalists include Sarasota’s Florida Studio Theatre, Tampa’s Glazer Children’s Museum and Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. The winner will be announced at a luncheon on Feb. 12 in Tampa.

WEDU is West Central Florida’s leading PBS station and public media company reaching 16 counties. Embracing Our Differences is a regular participant in Sarasota Pride and has seen its programs grow significantly over the past few years.

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Nathan Lane says straight actors can play gay roles

By : Wire Report
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BEVERLY HILLS, California (AP) – Gay actors shouldn’t have a monopoly on gay roles, award-winning stage and screen actor Nathan Lane said.

Lane, who is gay and has played both straight and gay characters, was asked the question at a TV critics’ meeting Tuesday. He was there to discuss PBS’ presentation of the Broadway play “The Nance,” in which he stars.

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Overheard in Orlando: The Fabulous Beekman Boys

By : Anonymous
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East End Market opening delayed
The much-anticipated East End Market held a fabulous grand opening in the Audubon Park Garden District in late October, but closed quickly with code problems. John Rife, developer of the culinary masterpiece, which boasts farmers, chefs and food artists, has worked out the kinks and it has reopened. The two-story building, at 3201 Corrine Drive, houses a dozen merchants, offices, retail, event space, and a restaurant. It will feature monthly events and classes, everything from wine tastings to yoga. Local businesses offer seafood, meats, breads, fresh roasted coffee, raw food specialties, soups and sauces, local produce and flowers. It’s open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. A restaurant, Txokos Basque Kitchen, will open at the end of the year.

Farm to Epcot
The Fabulous Beekman Boys, famous for their Cooking Channel reality TV show following their life on their upstate New York farm, have some Orlando ties. Several weeks ago the duo – husbands Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge – appeared on the Derek and Romaine Sirius-XM Radio Show where they announced that products from their farm would soon be sold at Epcot. The Beekman 1802 products have been spotted at American Adventure. It turns out that Romaine is a big Disney parks fan, and knows many Disney executives. Josh and Brent are frequent guests on the Derek and Romaine show, so Disney asked if Romaine would introduce them to Josh and Brent, which led to the business deal. The Beekman Boys said on the show that they will be at Epcot November 27 for the official debut of their items in the American Adventure shop.

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PBS celebrates Billie Jean King in advance of her 70th birthday

By : Wire Report
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New York – For Billie Jean King, 70 is the new 40.

The tennis great, who turns 70 in November, has been celebrating the 40th anniversary of equal prize money at the U.S. Open, the formation of the WTA tour and her victory against Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” match.

King was 29 when she accomplished those feats in 1973. On Tuesday, PBS will highlight her career with the national premiere of “American Masters: Billie Jean King.”

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A review of the best and worst in 2012 pop culture and entertainment

By : Kirk Hartlage
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If it weren’t for double meanings and the double entendre, pop culture and entertainment would have probably ceased to exist this year (no thanks to those pesky Mayans and their predictions). Showtime’s hit espionage drama “Homeland” featured a double-agent in Damien Lewis’ Nicholas Brody, a former prisoner-of-war who was “turned” by al-Qaeda and now threatens the United States; meanwhile Claire Danes’ Carrie Mathison is a CIA intelligence agent who suffers from bipolar disorder. NBC’s Thursday night comedy line-up (“30 Rock,” “Parks & Recreation” and “The Office”) is hysterically built around creative uses of the double entendre.

In that spirit we present our 2012 Pop Culture Year-In-Review, with all its double meanings.

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