Tag Archives: NYC

Madison Square Garden Thinks ‘Real Men’ Don’t Dance in Homophobic Ad

1 Nov

It’s no secret that there’s some homophobia in professional sports, but the tide is turning. With pro athlete heroes like footballers Brendan Ayabendejo and Chris Kluwe, wrestler Hudson Taylor, Hockey player Sean Avery and dozens more speaking out for marriage equality, we can see things are changing.

However, for every few steps forward, there has to be a step back. Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Knicks has released a new ad being seen on phone booths in New York City. The ad reads:

“It’s Friday night. You can either see a Broadway harness malfunction or you can watch real men fly.”

Yes, there’s a little dig at Spiderman in there (a little two years ago, but I digress). But take a look at the next part of the ad where it clearly claims that people who work on Broadway aren’t “real men.”

The insinuation that someone who spends a few months a year throwing a ball in a hoop is any more of a man than someone who does 8 shows a week literally breaking their backs as they do their acrobatics on a stage is not only insulting, but it’s utterly false.

As a kid who grew up doing musicals, seeing an ad like this would have hurt me. Gay kids out there who happen to be attracted to something other than athletics are putting up with enough bullying from their peers and in many cases their families. They don’t need it from Madison Square Garden too.

As New York has seen enough trouble this past week, let’s hope MSG quickly issues an apology and pulls down their homophobic ad.

In conversations about this, I’ve found a few people don’t find anything offensive about this. One friend even advised that we shouldn’t get upset about this and we should instead wait until some NBA player calls someone a “fag” and no one does anything about it. The problem with this argument is that when the phrase “Real Man” is used as a pejorative against another person, it is nearly always the same thing as calling someone a “fag.” Everytime that phrase has been used to insult someone in the last 50 years, it has been to question someone’s masculinity and/or their sexuality. That’s why I think this is important to point out. This is essentially the same as an NBA Player shouting “fag” at someone, except this time it’s on a phone booth in New York and no one is saying anything about it.

After some calls to Madison Square Garden, I’ve found it’s an ad for MSG Networks and I’ll update you when I receive a response.

h/t to Richard Roland, who took the photos.

Merely Legends: Dinner with Patricia Neal & Celeste Holm

15 Jul

Disclaimer: this post has nothing to do with being gay. Well…maybe a little.

About 10 years ago, I was still quite fresh in New York City. The bitterness and jaded behavior had yet to seep into my soul.

I was house sitting for my friend and composer, David Friedman. David had conducted the choirs for a bunch of big Disney films like Beauty & The Beast and Pocohontas and composed the score for the film, Trick.

In the middle of the week at one point, the phone wrang. I picked it up and an older woman crowed into the phone “HELLO! Is David there?” I replied that he was away and wouldn’t be back until the weekend. “Damn! He was supposed to take me to the theatre.” I apologized and she said “Who are you?” in an almost accusatory tone. I told her I was a friend of David’s and I was taking care of his apartment while he was away. She replied “Well you sound delicious, would you like to take me to the theatre this Thursday?” Having no idea still to whom I was speaking, I asked “Who is this?” “Why, it’s Patricia Neal of course.” I told her it would be my honor to take her to the theatre on Thursday.

Me and Patricia Neal

My 23-year old self was thrilled beyond words. I was going to the theatre with the first woman to EVER win a Tony Award for her performance in a Broadway show. She won an Oscar for her performance in Hud with Paul Newman and no one will ever forget her brilliant work in the classic film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with Audrey Hepburn.

I showed up at her East End Avenue pad on the Upper East Side and she proceeded with a tour. She showed me her award room and mentioned that “Most of theses awards are because I had a stroke and lived to tell about it.” She showed me her Academy Award and inquired “Did you see me in Hud with Paul Newman?” I unfortunately had not and terrifyingly told her so. “It’s alright,” she said “If you blinked your eyes, you would have missed me…but I still won the Oscar.”

She told me a few more stories, bragged about her granddaughter, Sophie Dahl (yes, she was once married to Roald Dahl), and with that we left for the theatre.

Patricia Neal

Ms. Neal was 77 at the time and after multiple strokes had suffered almost no short-term or long-term memory. I escorted her down the stairs to Danny’s Skylight Room on 46th Street and we sat down for a cabaret. Others came up to her table to greet her and she’d always say “Darlings, introduce yourselves,” as she just couldn’t recall many names. Among her friends there that night were Jerry Orbach and Joel Grey and with each handshake I sank deeper and deeper into disbelief of where I was and what I was doing.

Towards the end of the show, Ms. Neal asked me “Darling, have you ever been to Sardi’s?” I hadn’t. “Well tonight’s your lucky night, you’re going to Sardi’s with Patricia Neal!” Many of you know Sardi’s for their glamorous days where they’d created caricatures on the walls of celebrities who’d visited. I recalled Sardi’s from Muppets Take Manhattan where Kermit the Frog famously took down Liza Minnelli’s portrait and replaced it with his own.

We walk through the doors, and everyone immediately knew there was royalty in the room. More introductions and sparkling conversations about the old days of Broadway and Hollywood. And despite having so many stories and so much experience, she seemed to want to know more about me than anything else.

Celeste Holm

We’re almost finished with dinner when a smaller older woman came and said hello. She had her scarf pulled up over her nose and a tight knit cap pulled to the edge of her eyebrows. She chatted with Ms. Neal as if they were old friends and finally was asked to join us for dessert. “Darlings, introduce yourselves,” she said. “Hi, I’m Jamie McGonnigal.” “Hi, I’m Celeste Holm.” My heart dropped through my feet and into the hardwood floor. This was the original…ORIGINAL Ado Annie in Oklahoma. She was in All About Eve with Bette Davis and Marilyn Monroe. I spent the next 20 minutes choking down profiteroles while they caught up.

Then I giggled…and then I chuckled…and then I laughed. Not the quiet laughter you would expect from someone in the middle of this situation, but an awkardly loud laugh that caused Ms. Neal to turn to me and say “Darling, what’s wrong? You’re hysterical.” “Ms. Neal, I apologize. I just happened to take a step away from myself and realize that I’m sitting at Sardi’s with Patricia Neal and Celeste Holm. Things are just a little absurd to me right now.”

“Darling.” She replied. “It’s nothing to get hysterical over, we’re merely legends.”

It was in that moment that I knew I would forever have a story of my first meeting with Patricia Neal and Celeste Holm. We lost Patricia to lung cancer 2 years ago, she was 84. And this morning at around 3:30am, my other dinner partner from that magical night, passed away. I’ll never forget that night, as you can imagine. And the world will never forget these “mere legends.”

Ring in Pride! Help Pass Marriage Equality in NY!

14 Jun

Following up on our earlier post regarding the New York Marriage Equality vote, we wanted to share the phone numbers of several Senators who we believe may be moveable towards equality. Please call these Senators immediately as the vote could be happening as early as tomorrow and must happen before Monday, so these calls MUST be made today. Call and please tell all your friends and family to call as well. This is especially important if you are a constituent of any of these Senators. As of now, we need just one more vote. Let’s make it happen! What an incredible way to celebrate Pride!!

Senator Gregory R. Ball of Putnam County (845) 279-3773

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. of Suffolk County (516) 882-0630

Senator J. Kemp Hannon of Nassau County (516) 739-1700

Senator Andrew J. Lanza of Staten Island (718) 984-4073

Senator Betty Little of Glens Falls (518) 743-0968

Senator Mark Grisanti of Erie County (518) 455-3240

Senator Stephen M. Saland of Poughkeepsie (845) 463-0840

Senator Lee M. Zeldin of Shirley (631) 360-3356

Senator John J. Flanagan of Long Island (631) 361-2154

Senator Kenneth P. Lavalle of Port Jefferson (518) 455-3121

Call NOW and share this list with others!!

What is Broadway’s Priscilla Hiding?

17 Feb

When walking through Shubert Alley in Times Square, one gets to see the wall-sized posters for several Broadway shows – some have been running for years and some have yet to open. While walking through last week, I couldn’t help but notice this new ad for the upcoming Priscilla: Queen of the Desert musical.

The picture (also featured on their website and their first major mailer), features three “divas” as they’re called.

Of course, being the responsible self-respecting gay musical theatre lover I am, I immediately got pissed off. Why? Well – unless you missed the hit 90s film from Australia that this show is based on – you’d recall that PQD is a story of three of the most fabulous drag queens ever to grace the silver screen. Why the hell are there three pretty girls advertising a musical about boys in dresses? Michael Musto took to his blog to point out the same thing. And the die-hard Broadway fans at BroadwayWorld.com are having a lengthy discussion about it. Is a Broadway show afraid to show drag queens in their ads? Does someone think Broadway or NYC can’t handle a guy in a dress? So, I talked myself into a frenzy of being offended and then thought…hmmm there must be something else in play here. Surely a Broadway show was not sweeping the LGBT community under the carpet.

The ad campaigns from the other locations where PQD has played have all proven to be extraordinarily campy – including a giant stiletto over the marquis in some cases:

So, whereas TAE friend, Nick Adams is one of the stars of the upcoming musical, I dropped him a line to see what was up. Without saying very much and considering the actors rarely have little (if anything) to do with the marketing of a show, he referred me to one of the publicists for the show, Nick Pramik at Spotco (also an old friend).

Nick P denied that there was any attempt to hide the drag queens and explained that the posters we’d seen were merely the first part of a roll-out of a much larger campaign. Nick went on to explain that the team behind the marketing is the same team behind that for La Cage aux Folles, which clearly has no problem whatsoever with dragging out the queens to promote the show.

He then assured me that the LGBT community was going to be very happy with this show after some future announcements were made – including some kind of partnership with a major LGBT organization. He was biting his tongue the whole time and is clearly very excited about the promotional plan for the show.

So for now, keep your skirts on and let’s see what Priscilla holds for New York City!

I sure hope to see a whole lot of Will Swenson, Tony Sheldon and Nick Adams strutting their stuff all over the place to get people to see this very pro-LGBT musical.

In the meantime, enjoy a couple of the photos and a little video from the upcoming sure-to-be hit!

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