Manatee Players look to explore forbidden love in World War II with the musical Yank!

By : Jeremy Williams
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Yank! is many things: A musical that honors the song and dance of the 1940s; a play that tells the story of sending young men off to war. More importantly though, it’s a history lesson for how World War II was the frontline that created a community that would later become the movement for gay rights.

“I think with a lot of people LGBT history starts with Stonewall, but our history starts far beyond Stonewall,” Yank! director Kenn Rapczenski says. “Many of the soldiers, especially ones who were court-martialed for being homosexual, couldn’t go back to their small towns and farms, so they settled into big cities like San Francisco. This was the first time gays and lesbians were able to be with each other in a united way and started to form communities.”

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Screened Out – The Hateful Eight

By : Stephen Miller
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Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Demian Bechir, Channing Tatum

Nothing looks like a Tarantino. Be it a mafia film (Reservoir Dogs), slavery revenge story (Django Unchained), or WWII Nazi-killer flick (Inglorious Basterds), he always has a signature style. The Hateful Eight – Tarantino’s eighth film and a gory western shootout – has all the exact elements, but it also has some nagging flaws.

Anyone who goes to a Tarantino expects drawn-out, simmering scenes that erupt in gratuitous, bloody violence. In between, Tarantino betrays the period of his tale with anachronous songs and titles. Often, he even screws with chronology, telling parts of his story out of order. He seems bent on taking his time, and yet making sure that everything is enjoyable as possible.

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Screened Out – Labyrinth of Lies

By : Stephen Miller
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Andre Szymanski , Alexander Fehling, Fritz Bauer

It’s amazing to think that anyone could ignore the history of Auschwitz, where over 1.1 million people were exterminated. After the brutalities of WWII and the miraculous financial turnaround of the late 1950s, Germany wanted to do just that – forget. Ex-Nazis hung up their uniforms and quietly slipped back into civilian society. They and the rest of the country hoped that the past would stay in the past.

Labyrinth of Lies is an earnest German-language film about the investigations that brought famous Nazis out of hiding and to trial in the early 1960s. This time, Germans prosecuted Germans, ripping open old wounds.

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Screened Out – Pan

By : Stephen Miller
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Hugh Jackman, Levi Miller, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Amanda Seyfried

What a mess! This Peter Pan origin story strives to be something whimsical, weird and wonderful for the kids. It instead ends up clueless, confusing and cluttered. If all you’re looking for is stunning visuals, Pan is definitely for you. If you like your movies to have solid, even acting and some sense of tone, this Lost Boy never gets off the ground.

Pan doesn’t believe that characters with heart can carry a children’s movie. It instead overloads oddities, offering only optical onslaught.

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Screened Out – Mr. Holmes

By : Stephen Miller
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Ian McKellan, Laura Linney, Milo Parker

“I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for?” – Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of Four.

By playing the famous detective, Sir Ian McKellan proves again why he’s one of the greatest actors of our times.

In Mr. Holmes, England is still recuperating from WWII. The legendary detective is 93 and suffering from the worst disease that could befall him: dementia. He’s taken a trip to Hiroshima, Japan, to find a cure. He comes home to his English countryside house even more feeble and frail. Only the housekeeper (Linney) and her very bright son (Parker) are part of his life now; Dr. Watson and the original housekeeper Mrs. Hudson are dead.

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NY lawmaker backs state benefits for gay veterans

By : Wire Report
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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – A New York lawmaker says the state should ensure that military veterans discharged for their sexual orientation under the U.S. military’s old policies are eligible for the 53 state programs, benefits and tax breaks other vets can get.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman says he’ll sponsor legislation to do that for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Yorkers among the estimated 114,000 service members discharged since World War II for their orientation or gender identity.

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Screened Out – The Imitation Game

By : Stephen Miller
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Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Mark Strong, Charles Dance, Matthew Goode, Allen Leach

The Imitation Game does a marvelous job of weaving many elaborate strands into a complex and thoroughly thought-provoking movie. Using the programming of a traditional biopic – with a fantastic portrayal by Cumberbatch – this flick unravels gay hero Alan Turing’s compelling life.

Decoding Turing’s complicated biography is a monumental challenge. The LGBT community likes to claim his as our own, a genius struck down by homophobia and self-hate. He was surely that, but he was also so much more. Turing was a man with a laundry list of personality quirks we might today label as Asperger’s Syndrome. Most importantly, he created the first computer, which made it possible for the Allies to conquer the Nazis in WWII.

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Meet The 92-Year-Old WWII Vet Who Fought ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’

By : Wire Report
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UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio (AP) — Like thousands of other young men in the 1940s, Rupert Starr joined the Army, fought overseas and saw his share of hardship, including several weeks as a German prisoner of war. He returned to Ohio with a Bronze Star for heroism and a secret.

Not until his service as a military man was needed once again — this time as an activist against the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy — did Starr, who is gay, slowly step out of the closet.

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Screened Out – Edge of Tomorrow

By : Stephen Miller
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Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Paxton

Tom Cruise’s last foray into science fiction was last year’s Oblivion, which was pretty to look at but also fairly stupid. Edge of Tomorrow is not so beautiful – a grim, grungy, violent world wrapped in an apocalyptic war with an alien race – but it shows some cleverness.

People will argue that it’s just Groundhog’s Day meets Starship Troopers. Yes, they’re right. Yet, for a summer popcorn flick, Edge of Tomorrow is still extremely entertaining.

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Watermark’s 2014 Orlando Fringe Review: Black Stockings

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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I didn’t know what to expect going into Black Stockings. I thought the show description sounded interesting. It is ultimately about two sex workers talking about the morality of sex and comparing it to war. But the show, produced and directed by Winnie Wenglewick and co-produced by Brittany Lacour, takes you on an emotional rollercoaster.

Wenglewick, who plays Donna, and Lacour, who plays Trish, are sex workers in Manchester, England that divulge all the juicy details and truths behind sex work. The show seems filled with laughs, jokes and funny sexual innuendoes (even including a blow-up sex doll from the opening scene) till Trish’s past is revealed through various spotlighted monologues throughout the play (which the play was originally by Peter McGarry, who originally produced Black Stockings at the Orlando Fringe Festival in 2002).

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Screened Out: Men of Character

By : Stephen Miller
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SOFruitvaleStationFruitvale Station is an intimate biography that accomplishes great things. Based on an enraging 2009 tragedy, this film realistically shows us a deeply flawed character on the last day of his life. Michael B. Jordan’s nuanced performance deserves some serious award attention.

On Jan. 1, 2009, 22-year-old Oscar Grant (Jordan), his girlfriend, and their friends were coming home from celebrating New Year’s in San Francisco. A fistfight on the Bay Area Rapid Transit train got them pulled off and detained by an overzealous police force. While trying to handcuff Grant, surrounded by an increasingly confusing melee, an officer shot Grant in the back. Grant was at the time lying facedown on the platform at Fruitvale Station.

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