More than doubling his YouTube view count in the past year to 20 million, openly gay singer/songwriter Eli Lieb has gained international attention for his self-filmed videos where he sings popular hits from the likes of Katy Perry, Adele, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, and, most recently, Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” Along with his covers, Lieb has written and recorded original songs. His self-titled debut album was released in the fall of 2011, and it received positive reviews for his honesty and raw emotions. This past summer, he released a new power-pop single, “Young Love,” that went viral for reasons beyond the music.
His new video, “Zepplin,” released last week, shows off the singer’s knack for creating poppy, while still emotional, songs. This one has us loving those hot summer nights driving around.
Check it out after the jump…
Comic-Con International is in full swing this weekend in San Diego, and after elbowing through crowds filled with Storm Troopers, anime characters, True Blood fans, and a handful of people who still go for the comics, you’ll surely be needing a place to unwind from the madness. While keeping the spirit of the festivities alive, while being away from the action, Hotel del Coronado has created some Comi-Cocktails that will be served all weekend at their Sunset Bar. Similar to the powers of the character himself, the Silver Surfer cocktail wields “the power cosmic” and has the ability to make one feel like they can manipulate the universe’s ambient cosmic energy. Served up in a martini glass, this cocktail is a delicious blend of Patron Silver, Lillet, St. Germain Elderflower, Lemon, and Orange. Of course, you can use your powers of Mixology at home to make this, too.
Combine all ingredients, shake and strain into a martini glass and garnish with a large orange rind
Writer Rich Rubin clues us in on the super-gay theatrical happenings of Philly’s GayFest!
August is looking very gay in Philadelphia with the fourth annual GayFest! – a festival of LGBT theater presented by Quince Productions. This year’s festival, August 5-23 at various theaters in Philadelphia, is bigger than ever: you can check out three special events, four mainstage plays, and five one-night stands (of the theatrical variety, that is!).
GayFest! opens with a two-night performance (August 5-6) of Head Over Heels. New York-based dance company The Bang Group returns to open GayFest! after their triumphant appearance at GayFest! 2012 with “Misters and Sisters.” Their new show, in typically hilarious Bang Group fashion, presents an amalgam of influences from gay culture and street dance to MGM musicals.
Week 2 sees a special one-night only benefit for GayFest! and Equality PA: Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays a series of short plays by famous playwrights on the subject of same-sex marriage.
Week 3’s special event is the international hit show Confessions of a Mormon Boy Steven Fales’ one-man, which has wowed audiences from off-Broadway to London, Dublin, and Edinburgh. Before The Book of Mormon there was a Mormon Boy!
Find out about so much more that’s going on, check it out after the jump…
Calling all southern Californians! Head to the Old Globe this Saturday for the 2014 Globe Gala in support of the theater’s education and artistic programs. The annual event will feature a one-night-only performance by Broadway veteran and Tony Award winner Laura Benanti (Gypsy, Into the Woods, NBC’s The Sound of Music Live!, “The Good Wife,” “Go On”), based on her smash hit New York cabaret (and new CD) In Constant Search of the Right Kind of Attention. Nina Doede, Deni Jacobs, and Sheryl White serve as Co-Chairs of the 2014 Globe Gala. Leading underwriters include Audrey Geisel, Darlene Marcos Shiley, Conrad Prebys and Debra Turner, and Sheryl and Harvey White.
Laura Benanti has brought her unique abilities to comedies, dramas, and musicals since she took Broadway by storm at the age of 18. She received a Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, and a Tony Award nomination for her starring role in the Broadway production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown for Lincoln Center Theater, where she also starred in Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room, or the vibrator play. Benanti also demonstrated her comic flair in The Public Theater’s production of Christopher Durang’s Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them.
Benanti earned the 2008 Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her revelatory portrayal of Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy opposite Patti LuPone and directed by Arthur Laurents. Her other Broadway roles include her Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award-nominated performance of Cinderella in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods and her sultry Tony-nominated turn in Swing! She also starred opposite Antonio Banderas as his muse in the celebrated revival of Nine. In September 2013, she released her debut album, In Constant Search of the Right Kind of Attention: Live at 54 Below on Broadway Records, to ecstatic reviews.
The androgens supermodel, Andreja Pejic, most famous for her high-fashion modeling career posing as both male and female in both print and on the runway has come out as a transwoman and will no longer take jobs where she is required to pose as a man. The Australian model, who has also created a stunning line of jewelry to benefit the Ali Forney Center, told Entertainment Tonight, People.com, and Style.com that her agency supports her decision. “To all trans youth out there, I would like to say respect yourself and be proud of who you are. All human beings deserve equal treatment no matter their gender identity or sexuality. To be perceived as what you say you are is a basic human right,” she told GLAAD, an organization that helped her and her team with the social aspects of her transition. “As a transgender woman I hope to show that after transition (a life-saving process) one can be happy and successful in their new chapter,” she posted on her FB.
Congrats Andrewja, we’re excited to see what’s in store for you!
The madness of San Diego Comic-Con has us dreaming of superpowers and the gadgets that go with them, so what better time to channel your inner Ironman and take flight? Straight out of the future, the JetLev packs from Jetpack America are giving us an adrenaline-fueled nerd-gasm that only a Tony Stark-style flight along the coast can cure.
Maybe it’s James Bond you’re dreaming of, but whoever your hunky hero, there’s no denying that a water jet pack ride just shot straight to the top of your summer to-do list. Jetpack America maintains locations in Honolulu, Newport Beach, and San Diego, and offers flight packages on the state-of-the-art JetLev ranging from 15 to 50 minutes. Let out a laugh that would make any comic-book villain proud as you hover above the simple fools on their jet skis and boats, and make your getaway while you sail along 30 feet above the water.
Experience the JetLev at Jetpack America. Three locations, $179-$699.
Long security lines? Strip-search pat down? Rude gate agent? As modern-day flyers, we’re familiar and now accustomed to the insta-service and insta-reaction of social media. And while, we’re assuming, millions of posts a day occur about lousy service at an airport, one tweet from a Minnesota family caught the eye of someone at Southwest Airlines, enough so that the entire family was asked to deboard. The father, Duff Watson, tweeted that his gate agent was extremely rude: “Wow, rudest agent in Denver. Kimberly S, gate C39, not happy @SWA,” he told CBS he said in the tweet. But then, the airline demanded that the family leave the plane, and said that they must delete the tweet in order to get back on the plane, Southwest confirmed. Kimberly felt threatened because of the tweet, according to reports. The family was ultimately allowed to reboard, and the airline has since apologized via email and offered a $50 voucher for all three family members, but Watson has vowed never to fly Southwest again.
Longstanding Foe of the Gay Community, Exxon Mobil Agrees to Comply with Obama’s Executive Order Protecting LGBT Employees
Exxon Mobil Corp. has had a rocky history with the LGBT community, ever since it was named one of the only top Fortune 500 companies without offering protections for its LGBT employees. But now, thanks to the Executive Order signed by President Obama requiring federally contracted companies to protect LGBT employees, Exxon said it would comply. With over $480 million in federal contracts just last year, the company will not know exactly how to comply by the order until the Labor Department releases its guidelines in the coming weeks. Just this May, Exxon shareholders voted down a measure to change the wording of the company’s equal employment opportunity policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity. [AP]
US District Judge Raymond P. Moore ruled against Colorado’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, yesterday. In Burns v. Hickenlooper, attorneys with Kilmer, Lane and Newman, LLP sued the state on behalf of six same-sex couples who argue that Colorado’s ban on marriage equality violates the U.S. Constitution. Judge Moore stayed his ruling until August 25 to allow the state time to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which has already struck down bans on marriage equality in Utah and Oklahoma. “Today’s ruling from Judge Moore provides even further confirmation that Colorado’s ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Through civil unions, Colorado has already recognized the need for same-sex couples to have equal access to the benefits and obligations of marriage. Now its time for the state to stop its appeal and allow these families the dignity that comes with full marriage equality.”
The New York Musical Theatre Festival is in full swing. We caught two shows this week that capture varying degrees of success in the development of new work.
As We Lie Still is a musical fantasy that follows magician Avi Leiter (Travis Stuebing as Young Avi and Michael A. Robinson as Old Avi) and his rise to fame during the turn of the century. His one epic trick—the ability to bring his assistant Josephine (Olivia de Guzman Emile) is hampered when she is mesmerized by Azriel, gatekeeper to the afterlife (George Michael Ferrie, Jr.). The show flashes forward to show Hope (Erika Larsen), the daughter that Josephine gave up for adoption at the bedside of her coma-ridden husband, Michael (Clinton Greenspan). Will Old Avi be able to cast his spell one last time?
The production, staged by Broadway veteran Micahel Serrecchia (who appeared in the original A Chorus Line and has worked in the theater for 45 years) has great moment of theatricality, mostly because of the music and lyrics by Patrick Emile. “I set out to write a musical theater piece that explored the human experience in the style of magical realism,” Emile told the Broadway Blog. “I have a great interest in stage magic and the vaudeville era, as well folklore, the supernatural, etc. I had stumbled upon the term psychopomp (the culturally and historically ubiquitous being that transitions the dying into the next phase of existence), and the story began to click together like a puzzle. Once plotted, Olivia took it into the book writing stage.”