THE YEAR 2016 WAS PERHAPS the strongest yet for Hollywood depictions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. They’re not just comic relief anymore.
Consider Rutina Wesley’s bisexual Nova on OWN’s “Queen Sugar,” Erica Ash’s lesbian M-Chuck on Starz’s LeBron James-produced “Survivor’s Remorse,” the transgender fashion models of Oxygen’s reality show “Strut,” and the boy-to-man protagonist Chiron, who grapples with his sexuality in Barry Jenkins’ Golden Globe-nominated “Moonlight.” These are just a few of the LGBT characters populating some of the best films and TV shows Hollywood has to offer.
But producer, writer and director Patrik-Ian Polk, one of many LGBT people in the industry, is uncertain how the administration of President-elect Donald Trump will affect Hollywood and the recent increase in more varied representations of — and opportunities for — the LGBT community.
WHEN EMMA STONE, DENZEL WASHINGTON, Ryan Gosling and the rest of this year’s Academy Award nominees get ready for the big night, they will reckon with the perennial questions that have faced every Oscar nominee for time immemorial: what to wear, who to bring as a date, who to thank if they win.
But this year, there will be a potentially vexing new question as well: what, if anything, to say about Donald Trump.
If last year’s awards season chatter was dominated by the roiling #OscarsSoWhite controversy, the elephant in the room this year has been the ascent to the presidency of a man whose candidacy few in Hollywood supported and whose victory even fewer saw coming.
I love Hollywood, but it's NOT REAL. It's a fantastical playland. They are out of touch with the real world most of us have to deal with every day. They're so focused on fringe minority issues they're missing the BIG picture and hundreds of thousands of people are broke, have no hope for a better future, and are being punished under a corrupt president and horrible Congress. There's a stage for the LGBT issues ... but it should NOT be the No. 1 priority above all else when people are literally starving and being homeless. They're oblivious to what's going on elsewhere ... or just don't care. But, that's the laughable thing here.... Hollywood creates FICTION. They're not SUPPOSED to really be reflecting the real world. They're supposed to be creating fun fiction that we can escape our little lame lives for a time. So, the sheer fact of them thinking THEY should be dictating how laws and government is run from THEIR perspective is too funny.
I've lived and traveled many places in the U.S. Not only is Hollywood out of touch, so is most of urban California. Both exist in a bubble. A place where insular thought feeds on one another. The only difference Hollywood has over most other places is they have been historically given a bully pulpit to speak from. One of the takeaways from The Donald's election is a repudiation of this stage. A formal rejection that a large part of America is tired of the Clooneys of the world telling us how to think and upbraiding us for daring to hold beliefs different than their fascist view of the world.
Finally the news narrative of overcovering those incredulous sky is falling anti-Donaldites were never explored when a freshman senator with almost NO real world work experience who won a Nobel peace prize within one year of election was voted into office. That double standard speaks directly to how out of touch the Hollywood Liberal California 'industrial complex' really is.
The movies rely far too much on guns to create drama and excitement. How many posters do we see from our cars of stars looking fierce and brandishing ugly pistols? A gun makes a man powerful, that's the message -- and as yet another mass shooting is reported, it's pretty clear that Americans take that message seriously.
Many of my friends are faithful Christians from large families with stay-at-home mothers who do their best to shield and protect the innocence of their children from the radical forces of secularization at play in our country. We are concerned especially about pornography on the Internet and cellphones, and we want our children to develop healthy relationships with others of like mind. The Hollywood culture seems to have no role models of people that heroically try to live a life of self control and sacrifice (Obi-Wan Kenobi), and there are almost no good male role models anymore.
THE DAY AFTER THE 2016 ELECTION, Conor Oberst called his old friend Michael Stipe from R.E.M. for condolence.
“He’s someone I look up to as a voice of reason,” Oberst said. “He was torn up about it all, but good to talk to. He said that now’s the time to find more resolve than ever to donate to Planned Parenthood and all the institutions that we’re going to have to rely on.”
The two had performed, with Bruce Springsteen, on the Vote for Change tour in 2004, hoping to rally support for John Kerry’s ultimately unsuccessful presidential campaign. That was the last time the singer-songwriter felt so despondent about American politics. Until November, that is.
“I think this [election] is worse. But I felt more freaked out in ’04. Maybe because I was younger and less cynical.”
EARLY IN APRIL, a time when the frigid North Dakota plain is still quilted with snow, several dozen Native American men and women set out on horseback for a 25-mile ceremonial ride from the Standing Rock Sioux tribal headquarters in Fort Yates to the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers.
There they set up a small encampment of tepees on a site known by Native Americans as Sacred Stone. The camp was a protest against an encroaching crude oil channel, the Dakota Access pipeline, whose placement underneath the Missouri River threatened a key waterway and Sioux burial grounds.
At that moment, it might have strained the imagination to believe that nine months later, the camp would not only still be active but that it also would have become a full-fledged cultural touchstone.
WHEN A COLLEAGUE SHARED a British tabloid report that Donald Trump was considering appointing a certain Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone as head of the National Endowment for the Arts we rolled our eyes, speechless.
Stallone has since said he would decline any offer for the top arts spot from Trump. Yet — and I can’t believe I am saying this — Sly Stallone may not have been such a bad idea for the NEA after all.