Leonard Nimoy, Famous for Playing Spock on ‘Star Trek’ Dies

February 27th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via s_bukley

Image via s_bukley

Leonard Nimoy, the actor who is most famous for portraying pointy-eared Spock on Star Trek, has died at the age of 83. During his just three seasons as the Vulcan science officer and first officer, Nimoy made the “Live long and prosper” gesture and line into a worldwide phenomenon. Nimoy embraced his role as Spock, attending fan expos, writing two autobiographies, and reprising his role in the series’ recent big-screen reboot.

Nimoy, despite not attending his costar George Takei’s wedding to his partner, discussed his support for same-sex marriage. Saying to Zap2Zit: “Absolutely NO on Prop 8 because I believe that gay people have every right to get married and share their lives. George and Brad have been together for many years. They have every right to be together in any way they choose. Prop 8 is completely unjust.”

Check out the New York Times obituary that expertly covers this fascinating man’s life and legacy. 

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Join Cat Cora and More for the Festival of the Desert in Palm Springs

February 27th, 2015 Tyler Neasloney
Celebrity Chef Cat Cora. Image via Festival of the Desert

Celebrity Chef Cat Cora. Image via Festival of the Desert

Make your pilgrimage to the gay mecca of Palm Springs a little early this year for the first-ever Festival of the Desert. Enjoy music, arts, celebrations, and a culinary experience by lesbian chef Cat Cora (check out our profile of her here), all under the California sun.

Keep reading after the jump…

Read more…

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Join ‘Passport’ Magazine this Weekend at the Original GLBT Expo in New York

February 27th, 2015 Joseph Pedro

Gay travel Expo

The Original GLBT Expo showcases products from GLBT-friendly and gay-owned companies and producers. This year’s event takes place this weekend on February 28-March 1 at the Javits Center in New York City. With dozens of vendors, including a giant wedding pavilion and the Passport Travel Show, there’s no reason not to go. After you’ve finished browsing through the exhibition, spend some time watching the evening entertainment. Dance groups, comedians, singers, and performers will grace the stage. In addition to some LGBT nightlife mainstays, there will also be numerous young artists trying to make in it the challenging world of NYC performance art. Come and support them.

And, don’t forget to come say hi to us!

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Gay Travel: What’s New in Tokyo, Japan

February 27th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

Japan’s vibrant, spirited, and stimulating capital, Tokyo, is famously a city that never sleeps, but tonight it’s taking a gentle nap. My friend Mike and I wander the streets of Ginza, a renowned shopping district normally flooded with pedestrians on a Saturday night, though there’s nary a soul in sight. A handful of locals hugging each other tightly rush to a cab as the heavens above unleash a spatter of raindrops. It happens that we arrived on the eve of Super Typhoon Phanfone, which was hot on the heels of our flight from Los Angeles. A Super Typhoon is like a tropical storm on steroids, and, already, we knew it would wreak havoc on our vacation.

But, as it turns out, Tokyo is a resilient city. After a huge blow from the recession that lasted six strong years, and a fatal tsunami up north that also affected Tokyo’s economy, the city known for its sparkle and charm finally said enough. It took reign of its economy, opened its first hotel since the recession, and banged out myriad new attractions. The typhoon, interestingly, lasted only one full day; chased away by the famous rising sun that now gleamed over the city. Tokyo had unabashedly emerged from its power nap, fully recharged, and whole-heartedly committed to its agenda of returning to its iconic splendor.

Keep reading over at Passport magazine online…

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Is Jeb Bush the Gay-Friendly Republican President?

February 27th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

As it is well documented that Jeb Bush has evolved on gay and lesbian marriage, media outlets are reporting that Bush is the “gay-friendly republican.” Buzzfeed described Bush’s likely 2016 campaign strategy.

“When Bush officially launches his presidential bid later this year, he will likely do so with a campaign manager who has urged the Republican Party to adopt a pro-gay agenda; a chief strategist who signed a Supreme Court amicus brief arguing for marriage equality in California; a longtime adviser who once encouraged her minister to stick to his guns in preaching equality for same-sex couples; and a communications director who is openly gay.”

Not so fast, HRC, decried in a press release, “At the end of the day, it isn’t rhetoric or hiring practices that count, it’s what a candidates stands for. A candidate who is truly committed to LGBT equality will support marriage equality and support protecting all LGBT Americans from discrimination. While the tone of Jeb Bush’s language and word choice may have changed, he hasn’t yet articulated different policies from when he opposed marriage equality and opposed discrimination protections as governor. There are more questions than answers on where Bush stands today.”

Despite the uncertainty of what a Bush run in 2016 will look like, it’s refreshing to see how far the entire political landscape has changed on marriage equality in just a few short years.

 

 

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Net Neutrality: FCC Chairman Vows to Keep the Internet Free and Open

February 26th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

Despite some hurdles from Republicans, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, announced today that that the FCC voted in support of net neutrality—supporting President Obama’s demand that Internet providers not charge for faster speeds. According to the NYTimes:

The proposed rule change would reclassify broadband Internet services under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, giving the FCC the authority to enforce rules preventing Internet providers from providing favorable treatment—such as faster speeds—to companies in exchange for money. In other words, Netflix or Hulu can’t pay to have their video delivered more quickly than a competing but smaller company. Perhaps more importantly, these rules also apply to mobile broadband, meaning that cell phone companies can’t decide to throttle or block data coming from certain services. The hope is to give all Internet companies, regardless of the size of their wallets, a fair shake at competing, and make sure that consumers have access to the content they want, without interference from providers.

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Facebook Adds a Gender-Identity Field

February 26th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via American Apparel

Image via American Apparel

Facebook will now allow users to add their own description beyond the pre-set options to accurately describe their gender identity. Users can also control with whom they share their gender identity, an important safety and privacy feature.  

The change builds on the “Custom Gender” option introduced last year by Facebook, which provides users a list of more than 50 gender identities they can choose from to describe themselves while building their online profile at the site. The feature will now include a free-form field in which individuals who use Facebook in US English can self-identify with their own words.

“Facebook’s new free-form field for gender identity is a huge step forward for transgender, gender nonconforming and gender queer youth,” said GLSEN Executive Director, Dr. Eliza Byard. “The Internet is an essential source of resources, support and community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth, and one of its most important ‘living rooms’ now better reflects their reality and self-understanding.”

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Broadway by the Year: The Broadway Musicals of 1916-1940

February 26th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Aleka Emerson and Danny Gardner (Photo: Maryann Lopinto via The Broadway Blog.)

Aleka Emerson and Danny Gardner (Photo: Maryann Lopinto via The Broadway Blog.)

The wind-chill factor may have been zero degrees outside on Monday night, but numerous dyed-in-the-wool Broadway musical theater fans, who may that morning have complained, “Oh, How I Hate to Get up in the Morning,” nonetheless thought it worth their while to “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag” and “Charleston” over to the Town Hall to hear two dozen singers “Say It with Music” in the latest edition of the popular Broadway by the Year series.

Keep reading over at The Broadway Blog…

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Apple Fights Arkansas Anti-Gay Law

February 26th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
Image via YouTube

Apple’s at Pride. Image via YouTube

Apple Inc., the world’s second-largest information technology company, issued the following statement condemning the anti-LGBT bill in Arkansas, HB 1228 – a bill that could allow any person to undermine state laws by citing their personal religious belief as an excuse to discriminate against others:

“At Apple inclusion inspires innovation. Our employees in Little Rock have a right to equal treatment under the law, as do their coworkers in Cupertino and around the world. We join the many voices across Arkansas in opposing HB1228 and we urge the State’s legislators to vote against the bill.”

As written, HB 1228 would allow individuals to sue government actors—including teachers, firefighters and police officers—if that individual believed that their personal religious beliefs were being violated. Yesterday, the bill suffered a setback in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  HRC Arkansas remains committed to fully defeating the bill.

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Breaking with Tradition: Japan Week Celebrates with a Lesbian Couple

February 25th, 2015 Joseph Pedro
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“I hope I don’t trip,” Brittany Boccio tells me with her elaborately wrapped hiyoku. “I have to be the clumsiest person ever,” she says shyly while taking a peak at her future bride, Theresa Hittel, who’s standing, arms out on a platform getting wrapped, prodded, poked, and tightened by expert kimono makers from Japan. In just under 30 minutes, the two girls will stand in the middle of Grand Central Terminal in New York City and get dressed in Watabe kimonos (we learn there are many, many layers to the traditional wedding dress) that are worth more than $10,000. The girls, won this experience as part of Japan Week along with two other couples. While their wedding date won’t actually take place until 2017, the girls get to have this other worldly experience thanks to the Japan National Tourism Organization. Additionally, one couple will win a honeymoon-style trip to Japan, be sure to vote for the girls here.

“I’m just so glad I found soul mate,” Boccio says in her Long Island accent and begins to tell us how the two girls found one another. Not surprisingly, Japan played a big role in bringing the two together. During Japan Day in Central Park, the two learned that they were both massive fans of the Japanese “metal” band Dir En Grey. “I basically stalked her and we hung out forever in our group of friends, and I eventually asked her out,” she says. “So, if we win the trip to Japan, we have to see bands play when we’re there, oh and see this island that’s filled with deer!” Boccio says. Hittel looks up from the goings on of her dressers and her eyes light up. “I have to go there,” Hittel confirms nodding her head rapidly, sending her finely placed decorative hair flowers into a tizzy.

I leave the girls who are getting anxious for the big debut. When they appear on the small stage, there is no mention of their gender. Little kids sit around the stage, older men and women munch on Japanese tofu hummus and pita chips, and the woman who dresses them makes no comment either. She discusses the importance of tradition and traditional dress. “Western dress is becoming more and more fashionable, but this traditional style is way more beautiful,” she says finishing up dressing Boccio by sticking a “sword” into her breast pocket and she steps back in awe of herself for dressing these two beautiful soul mates.

Click here to vote for the girls.  

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