Culture

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‘Heartbeats’ is latest from young gay director

Xavier Dolan releases new film 'Heartbeats'

Xavier Dolan was only 19 when he made his first film, the startlingly original, semi-autobiographical “I Killed My Mother,” about a gay teen’s love-hate relationship with his mom during his coming-out process. It’s had countless showings in festivals (including last year’s Out on Film) and museums (Atlanta’s High Museum of Art for one) but has yet to have a proper American theatrical release.

Dolan turned 22 on March 20 as his second film, “Heartbeats” started playing around the country. Cinephiles can make a drinking game of spotting Dolan’s influences in “Heartbeats,” but don’t expect a film on the level of “I Killed My Mother.”

The bones of the plot have potential. Francis (Dolan) and his best friend Marie (Monia Chokri) meet “blond Adonis” Nicolas (Niels Schneider), who has just moved to Montreal.

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The beer is great, but you don’t have to drink to enjoy these neighborhood hubs

Brick Store Pub in Decatur

You don’t have to drink to enjoy a good neighborhood bar experience. It’s like in Olde England where the pub was the heartbeat of the community. It’s nice to have a grassroots communal experience. These two taverns aren’t about raucous screaming drunks, but rather the convivial, connective atmosphere a good pub can deliver.

Open for over a decade, the Brick Store Pub is a vital, nostalgic stop in Decatur. Many Atlantans think of Manual’s Tavern first when looking for a quintessential pub experience, but that place is hyper straight. Brick Store’s owners know they are surrounded by Decatur’s culinary gems, so they had to up their game and not serve tired stock bar food.

The scene is mainly straight, but Decatur is the Berkley of the South, so no one cares what you are. It’s the kind of straight folks that like gays because they know we move in and increase property value. The décor is classic red exposed brick.

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‘Shakespeare Follies’ takes audiences on a bawdy romp through the classics

Wednesday was a six-espresso-shot day for local playwright Timothy Gray.

It's the Wednesday before his company, Odd Man Out, opens "Shakespeare Follies" again in Atlanta, this time for a two-night benefit run April 1-2 at 7 Stages in Little Five Points. Proceeds benefit 7 Stages.

Between packing costumes, load-in at the theater and tech rehearsals, he phoned in to chat about the show and how he's managed to teach an old bard new tricks.

"I love Shakespeare so much," Gray says, "but I know everyone hates it because it was one of those things that was forced on us in high school, so I set this show up like a 1920s vaudeville show — little rapid fire acts, boom, boom, boom."

Gray, who is gay, writes comedies as a rule, and his approach to Shakespeare is no different. Promotional materials call the presentation a "bawdy romp through the most famous (and infamous) of Shakespeare's masterpieces" with “elements of cabaret and vaudeville, hilarious comedy and shameless T&A.”

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Gay on Facebook: It’s complicated

Facebook and the LGBT rights movement

Credited with helping fuel uprisings in faraway places such as Egypt and Libya, Facebook is also revolutionizing the gay rights movement — and the overall LGBT experience — across the United States.

The social networking site was the primary tool used by grassroots organizers in numerous cities throughout the country as they planned protests in response to the passage of Prop 8, the gay marriage ban, in California in 2008. It has amplified the visibility of gay-affirming campaigns such as National Coming Out Day and the National Day of Silence, and provided broad exposure for new initiatives including the No H8 photo project and National Spirit Day, when people were encouraged to wear purple and infuse purple into their profile photo to express solidarity against anti-gay bullying.

But Facebook’s effect on LGBT lives has been far more personal than organizing and getting the word out about gay events. For LGBT adults, the site has dramatically altered the coming-out process —  either making it easier by replacing countless, emotionally wrought conversations with friends, co-workers and people from one’s past, or complicating the effort to remain closeted when every status update or photo you post is showered with flattering comments from people of the same sex.

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Elton John to host comedy sketch show SNL this weekend

Part-time Atlanta resident and full-time musical icon Sir Elton John is set to host “Saturday Night Live” this weekend. John will also double as the show's musical guest and will make his first appearance on SNL since 1982.

Check out the SNL promo for this weekend's show below, featuring SNL's Jason Sudeikis and a classic British comedy bit:

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An open-minded approach to gay marriage

Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen talk marriage equalityBeing gay in a largely straight world comes with a special brand of discrimination that stretches from "I hate gay people" to "I hate feminine gay men" and "I like gay people, but I don't think their marriage should be the same as mine."

You don't need me to tell you that it's complicated.

But every now and then, I'm happy to hear enlightened opinions from straight folks who support gay marriage… a number that's growing according to a new poll by CBS and the Washington Post.

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‘Precious’ director to speak at Atlanta HRC Dinner

Director Lee Daniels will speak at this year's HRC Atlanta Gala

The Atlanta chapter of the Human Rights Campaign announced today that director and producer Lee Daniels has joined the speaking line-up for this year's Atlanta Gala Dinner on May 14.

Daniels, who directed Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, will join Academy Award-winning actress Mo'Nique, who will receive the organization's Ally for Equality Award at the dinner. Mo'Nique won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Precious.

According to HRC:

Daniels' background is filled with bold stories as real and gritty as the narratives from the films he creates. By the age of 21, Daniels had founded and was running his own health care agency, providing nurses to private homes and hospitals; he was simultaneously trying to be a screenwriter. After selling his health care business and giving up screenwriting, Daniels began managing actors such as Loretta Divine, Michael Shannon, Natasha Kinsky, and Aishwarya Rai. He turned to producing as a natural result of trying to find and create great material for his clients; the organic leap to directing came soon after. Daniels received the HRC National Visibility Award this past October at the HRC National Dinner in Washington, DC.

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‘A Dictionary for All Things Lesbian’ clears up some fuzzy words

Sometimes it's hard to keep up with all the words and acronyms that are used to describe the, um, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, ally, etc. community. But this morning I found a helpful guide for the letter I fall under — "L".

Titled "A Dictionary for All Things Lesbian," writer Anna Pulley for AfterEllen.com comes up with some great words that I think are worth sharing. Of course, they are words for the women-who-love-women, crowd.

Here are some of my favorites: