And would I be celebrating Gay Pride without him?
There was no certainty the Lakers would land a star free agent. Trading for Davis absolutely changes that.
The Lakers pulled off the deal everyone saw coming. They sent Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks — including the No. 4-overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft — to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Anthony Davis. Los Angeles also has enough cap space to offer a max contract to one of the premier free agents in this summer’s loaded open market, and they’re reportedly already shifting focus to signing Kemba Walker to complete their Big 3.
This is a turn of events of epic proportions for the Lakers. They’ve gone from laughingstock to arguably the favorites to win the title next year.
Before this trade, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Lakers weren’t the frontrunners “or even really a major consideration among any of the elite free agents.” Things, as you can imagine, are just a little bit different now.
ESPN’s Woj – “If the #Lakers are drafting at No. 4 on draft night, they’re in trouble because that means they didn’t make an Anthony Davis trade done… Right now, they are not a frontrunner or even really a major consideration among any of the elite free agents.” #Pelicans pic.twitter.com/qVmbjs54sU
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 12, 2019
Los Angeles has been disarray all season — and really the last several seasons. Their 2018-19 campaign went up in flames after LeBron James suffered a groin injury, followed by Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka failing to publicly deal three-quarters of the team to New Orleans for Davis at the trade deadline. Tensions bubbled, teammates were frustrated, and James missed the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
It got worse: to end the season, Johnson abruptly stepped down without informing team owner Jeanie Buss or any of the players. He then went on ESPN First Take and told the world his frightful experience running Lakers basketball operations. It was horrendous from an optics perspective. The dumpster fire outsiders saw was a dumpster fire Johnson lived.
There was also the growing trend of many of the top free agents not want to play with James in Los Angeles.
Kyrie Irving requested a trade from Cleveland for that very reason. Kawhi Leonard reportedly didn’t want to play with James on the Lakers and preferred the Clippers as a free agent destination this summer. The same can be said of Jimmy Butler, who requested a trade mid-season and listed the Clippers, not the Lakers, as a preferred destination. Kevin Durant has been tied to the New York market all year. Walker has maintained he wants to stay in Charlotte, who can give him $221 million.
Had this fate panned out, and all the cream of the crop of available talent gone elsewhere, the Lakers would have been looking at Year 2 of LeBron James in Los Angeles without a real shot of title contention. That won’t be true with Anthony Davis as a running mate, and now the Lakers are significantly more attractive for those other max free agents.
That’s because Davis will assuredly sign a five-year max contract extension next summer worth almost $200 million, and James has two more years on his current contract. The Lakers will have about $32.5 million in cap space this year, just enough to sign a free agent whose max contract begins at $32.7 million next season. This summer’s free agency pool took a hit with season-ending injuries to both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, but Leonard, Irving, Walker, Butler, Tobias Harris, Khris Middleton, DeMarcus Cousins, and D’Angelo Russell (OK, maybe not him) will each be on the market.
Walker has already been connected to the Lakers, and Irving, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, has already had discussions with people about playing for the Lakers. Leonard is also from Los Angeles. Him joining the Lakers would break basketball and form the best Big 3 in the history of the game. Whichever star joins the Lakers is signing up for a future built around Anthony Davis, and a present alongside Davis and James in a role similar to the one Irving played in Cleveland. This was the only way the Lakers were going to become a superteam this summer.
After signing their max player, the Lakers can then use their room mid-level exception of $4.5 million, along with minimum contracts, to round out the roster. It’s how they’ll build a championship contender, forming a team that could be the favorite to win it all next season.
Los Angeles needed Davis to lure a marquee free agent. Now, they have him, and as an added bonus, they have the attention of the best free agents on market.
A five-month drama played out just to end how we thought it would.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis are really going to play on the same team in the 2019-20 season. It’s really happening. After five months of nonstop negotiating and drama through the media, the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to trade Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks for Davis, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Ironically, the drama that started with Davis wanting to play in Los Angeles ends with the solution that felt inevitable all along. The Pelicans held out on a mid-season trade in hopes for a stronger offer — possibly from the Boston Celtics — over the summer, but ended up with a very similar deal to what they were offered in February. Per the New York Times’ Marc Stein, the Celtics refused to include Jayson Tatum in a deal. Any leverage the Pels had was lost because Davis, who has just one year left on his contract, had the ultimate say in where he would stay long-term.
Had this deal been accepted months ago, loads of drama could’ve been avoided. But that’s not how the NBA works. Instead, the basketball world watched on as Pelicans GM Dell Demps was fired after a Davis trade wasn’t made, LeBron James became the center of attention for publicly voicing his desire to play with AD, and Davis joined the circus himself sporting a “That’s All Folks” t-shirt in his last game with New Orleans. Don’t forget the mess that was the Pels’ compromise to play Davis limited minutes to appease both him and the league, and the team scrubbing Davis from their intro videos. This was all messy.
In the end, both sides were given what they wanted. Davis gets to team up with LeBron James in Los Angeles and the Pelicans get a fleet of prospects to quickly rebuild with around the presumptive No. 1 pick Zion Williamson and All-Star caliber guard Jrue Holiday. But it took a lot of energy, embarrassment and sacrifices to get to this point.
Pearl made quite the flazéda on season 7 of RuPaul‘s Drag Race, but you may not recognize her in San Francisco this weekend.
And for good reason.
Matthew James Lent, the performer behind Pearl, has been building up a new persona, Roxanne, and she’s set to make her live debut on June 15 at Fake and Gay in San Francisco.
Here’s some Roxanne to get revved up (or down or whatever direction you find yourself after hitting play) with, and if you happen to be in SF, head to The Stud to see her crawl to life before your very eyes:
If you’re at least a casual golf fan, you know Gary Woodland. What you might not know? His winding path to leading the U.S. Open involves deep three-point range, Dana Altman, and an exhibition game at Kansas.
Brooks Koepka might get all the buzz for his athleticism and honest desire that he’d play baseball over golf, but it’s actually a different name on this U.S. Open leaderboard that had the most successful career in another sport.
You’d be forgiven if “Steph Curry lite” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you look at or think about Gary Woodland. A three-time winner on Tour and a consistent top-50 player for the past handful of seasons, he’s a known quantity — the type of fringe household name that at least every golf fan knows. He shows up on major leaderboards. He’s long, he’s an athlete, he hits it forever. It wouldn’t be a shock if you were told the burly, long-hitter used to be a great athlete in another sport, but you might first guess he were a linebacker, first baseman, something like that.
You probably wouldn’t go for skinny point guard with tight handles and unlimited range.
But, yes, that’s true. Once upon a time, the now 35-year-old stocky Woodland was a local point guard phenom in Topeka, Kansas that got told by Creighton’s Dana Altman that he was too dang small to play major Division I college basketball. And the chain of events that led to him teeing off with a two-shot lead at the U.S. Open this afternoon involve a self-reckoning at the hands of Bill Self, Wayne Simien, and Kansas basketball.
Fifteen-some years ago, Gary Woodland was a three-sport athlete and star at Shawnee Heights High in Topeka, Kansas — but he was best known 6-1 skinny, all-state point guard that started 75 games and led his team deep in the state basketball tournament three times. Described as a shooter that had the green light the second he crossed half court, Woodland’s slight frame prevented the larger schools from offering scholarships, and he headed to hometown, Division II powerhouse Washburn University with basketball as his top priority.
It’s a fascinating story, and this ESPN piece from March has all the details, including this nugget where Creighton’s Dana Altman (now at Oregon) wasn’t interested in Woodland due to his frame — setting off the first kicker in the series of events that led to his pro golf career.
Cox tried to help Woodland. He reached out to some of his college contacts, including Dana Altman, then at Creighton, and pitched the 6-foot-1 Woodland as a guard who could “shoot the lights out.” Cox said the response was standard: “Who can he guard? How’s he going to be on defense?” But Cox didn’t have a good answer. If Woodland was coming out of high school today, Cox believes, with the premium that colleges put on shooters, Woodland would have received more and better offers.
In his first season at Washburn, Woodland was a backup point guard. His first ever game? An exhibition showdown with his beloved Kansas Jayhawks, that would become a reality check for the now-U.S. Open leader.
“I realized I was good in the state but these guys on a national level were a little different,” Woodland told ESPN in March. “I wasn’t quick enough and that was a big deal. I could shoot the heck out of it. I could see. I could handle the basketball but I wasn’t quick enough to move defensively.”
”Offensively, I was fine. I could get around, I could do stuff, but defensively I wasn’t quick enough. I couldn’t keep up. That was the biggest thing. And that was at the Division II level. You talk about Division I level. Our first game was at KU and I learned quickly I needed to find something else.”
Woodland averaged around 6 points a game his freshman season, transferred to his beloved KU to take a roster spot on the golf team that had been held open for him. Now, years later, he’s leading the U.S. Open — and he’s probably made more money in professional sports than any of those players on the Kansas roster at the time.
Weird world, man.
Can Tiger pull into contention? Is this Phil’s last meaningful round at the U.S. Open ever? Will Brooks position himself for a threepeat? Or could Gary Woodland create separation?
It’s one of the more fun days of the year in professional golf: moving day at the U.S. Open.
Later this afternoon, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, and the rest of a relatively stacked leaderboard will all take to a chilly, cold Pebble Beach to chase leader Gary Woodland on the Monterey Peninsula. At 9-under par, the Kansas native Woodland will have some room to put distance between he and the field if he takes it deep, but things are toughening up just enough that a couple of early bogeys could open things right back up for forty-plus players within a handful of shots of the lead.
Maybe the biggest story of the day? Tiger and Phil aren’t out of things, either — but they’ll need to make hay today if they want to be in the conversation on Sunday. If the leaders don’t run away, a 4 or 5 under round from either could get them back into the conversation. One thing to watch: Today might be the last shot for Phil to complete the career grand slam. Joel Beall of Golfworld did a great analysis of some numbers on Phil’s strengths and winners over time — Pebble was Phil’s last shot realistically to win a US Open. 50-year-old Phil Mickelson likely can’t compete in a big ballpark like Winged Foot next year, and he’s already stopped playing his hometown event at Torrey because it doesn’t suit his strengths in older age. Enjoy Phil today. It could be the last, real meaningful round we get from him at the national championship.
Pebble isn’t playing near as difficult as it has in previous opens, almost three shots easier thus far than the famed 2000 edition of this championship where Tiger won by 15 shots and was the only player to break par. That might start to change a bit today. No one on the course is exactly taking it low at the moment, and we’re expecting the sun to peek out and winds to pick up as we get into the afternoon. That could create the type of drying out & baking around the greens that might make this a far tougher weekend test. Paul Azinger mentioned on the broadcast a bit ago that the greens are already “completely different” today than they were Thursday & Friday.
Who might that favor? There’s few better right now on difficult tracks than Brooks Koepka, and you’d expect guys like Justin Rose and Louis Oosthuizen to be well-positioned on Sunday. If we don’t dry out, things seem set up for elite drivers of the golf ball like Rory McIlroy and Gary Woodland.
Here’s a link to the leaderboard. Strap in, order some Thai takeout, and settle in. The leaders tee off at 5:45, let’s LIVEBLOG.
LIVEBLOG & UPDATES
3:26pm: If you’ve been watching the Fox broadcast for the past three hours, there hasn’t been much to see. Lots of Joel Klatt teeing up pieces about The Tap Room, occasionally Rafa Cabrera Bello chopping it around the front nine. Rickie’s had a nice, yet meaningless round. But finally, we’ve got some things to watch.
Tiger and Phil are both out on the course, as is Jordan Spieth. All three aren’t out of it with 36 holes to go, but they’re hardly in it either. Depending on what goes with the leaders later, you’re probably looking at 67 or better from each of those guys if you’re trying to get in the conversation seriously for Sunday.
Cat’s the deepest into his round, and after a couple early bogeys, he’s reeled off back-to-back birds headed to the par-5 6th. Stay tuned. Fireworks might be incoming.
Two guys off to hot starts that have been out in the wilderness for awhile: Hideki and Danny Willett. They’ve got seven birdies and no bogeys between them already on their opening nines, and are to 3-under and 4-under respectively.
Pride month always delivers some incredible queer art, but this year is something else entirely.
Maybe it’s because we’re marking the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, or perhaps it’s a reflection of the larger moment of transition we’re at as a country, or as a planet.
Or it could just be that it’s summer and we’re all ready to blast off.
Whatever the case, a music video from Buzzfeed’s Eugene Lee Yang featuring music by ODESZA titled “I’m Gay” has us awestruck.
“Eugene comes out as gay in his original, deeply personal music video,” reads the release, and all we can say is hit play:
Dan Tracer is a queer writer, noisemaker, and amateur astral projector. Find him on Instagram.
Normally watching golf on TV involves surrendering entire weekend afternoons and calls from concerned family. Not this week. Rejoice, primetime golf is back.
If you’re a devoted fan of watching golf on TV, there are few things better than a west coast U.S. Open. On normal PGA Tour weeks — or really just any other event of the year, truly following all 18 holes for the leaders involves surrendering an entire weekend afternoon. That’s a bargain many are willing to make for big events, trading an April Sunday afternoon for a Tiger Woods Masters win is an easy transaction. Explaining to your significant other why you need to sit inside all day on a July Saturday afternoon to watch Ryan Moore stretch his lead to five at the John Deere Classic? (From experience, it’s a bit harder.)
But this weekend, you don’t need to do that! No more weird excuses to cancel plans because you’re
spending your entire Saturday watching Spencer Levin at the Sanderson Farms Championship cleaning the house. No more calls from concerned family members! When Justin Rose hits the final shot off the first tee Saturday, it’ll be somewhere around 5:45pm if you’re reading this from the Eastern time zone. By the time the leaders turn to the back nine, you’ll be able to post up at a bar, your couch and follow your normal patterns of sports consumption you use for NBA games, nighttime college football, whatever. Golf, during primetime! For a sport filled with people that would really, really like you to Please Like Our Sport, this is the moment we prepare for years in advance.
Prime time US Open golf is the best golf and possibly the best sporting event on television that we ever get. Cherish this.
— Bachelorette Tweeter Hunter L. Johnson (@HunterLJohnson) June 15, 2019
Even regular west coast events aren’t able to give us this, because of the shorter winter days and TV partners desire to not give up valuable Sunday night primetime hours to, say, the Genesis Open. But as of late, both the USGA and Fox are leaning into timezones and extended summer daylight hours to maximize viewership — big time. Fox is providing a ridiculous 10-hour coverage window, starting at Noon ET and finally going off the air at 10pm.
Man this sucks with no prime time sports on TV now that hockey and basketball are OH MY GOD GOLF IS ON
— Ben Swain (@TheBenSwain) June 15, 2019
With that here are the definitive rankings for the best times to consume professional golf on television. We’ll take no questions at this time.
- Sunday Primetime golf
- Early morning golf (Euro Tour hive, get loud please.)
- Weekday late-evening finish (The NCAAs rule.)
- Saturday Primetime golf.
- Afternoon golf, back nine
- Afternoon golf, front nine
- A danged root canal infection
- One of those weird 1pm finishes where tee times are moved up because of weather and then CBS refuses to show the broadcast live.
Oh, yeah, and here are some tee times — EASTERN — for Saturday.
10:36 a.m. — Justin Walters
10:47 a.m. — Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed
10:58 a.m. — Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton
11:09 a.m. — Shane Lowry, Martin Kaymer
11:20 a.m. — Kyle Stanley, Nick Taylor
11:31 a.m. — Adri Arnaus, Tom Hoge
11:42 a.m. — Clement Sordet, Erik Van Rooyen
11:53 a.m. — Bernd Wiesberger, Alex Prugh
12:04 p.m. — Andrew Putnam, Patrick Cantlay
12:15 p.m. — Brandt Snedeker, Rafa Cabrera Bello
12:26 p.m. — Michael Thorbjornsen, Chip McDaniel
12:37 p.m. — Brian Stuard, Marcus Kinhult
12:48 p.m. — Collin Morikawa, Andy Pope
12:59 p.m. — Cameron Smith, Jason Day
1:10 p.m. — Rickie Fowler, Bryson DeChambeau
1:21 p.m. — Kevin Kisner, Marc Leishman
1:32 p.m. — Billy Horschel, Billy Hurley III
1:43 p.m. — Daniel Berger, Rory Sabbatini
1:54 p.m. — Abraham Ancer, Hideki Matsuyama
2:05 p.m. — Danny Willett, Luke Donald
2:16 p.m. — Emiliano Grillo, Chandler Eaton
2:27 p.m. — Tiger Woods, Ben An
2:38 p.m. — Viktor Hovland, Webb Simpson
2:49 p.m. — Paul Casey, Charles Howell III
3 p.m. — Charlie Danielson, Phil Mickelson
3:11 p.m. — Haotong Li, Jason Dufner
3:22 p.m. — Jordan Spieth, Nate Lashley
3:33 p.m. — Harris English, Brandon Wu
3:44 p.m. — Dustin Johnson, Carlos Ortiz
3:55 p.m. — Sepp Straka, Matt Fitzpatrick
4:06 p.m. — Francesco Molinari, Jim Furyk
4:17 p.m. — Xander Schauffele, Sergio Garcia
4:28 p.m. — Graeme McDowell, Zach Johnson
4:39 p.m. — Jon Rahm, Scott Piercy
4:50 p.m. — Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson
5:01 p.m. — Matt Wallace, Brooks Koepka
5:12 p.m. — Chesson Hadley, Matt Kuchar
5:23 p.m. — Rory McIlroy, Chez Reavie
5:34 p.m. — Aaron Wise, Louis Oosthuizen
5:45 p.m. — Justin Rose, Gary Woodland
In Columbus, Ohio, Nina West isn’t just the Miss Congeniality of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 — she’s a hometown hero. And now the drag queen, a.k.a. Andrew Levitt, has her own street in the Biggest Small Town in America.
Nina announced the news on Instagram on June 10, showing a photo of the intersection of Hull Alley and High Street in the city’s stylish Short North Arts District. In the pic, Hull Alley has been renamed “Nina West Way.” Actually, the rainbow-hued street sign reads, “Be Kind The Nina West Way.”
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“Today is an overwhelming day,” West wrote on Instagram. “Thank you to my fair city of Columbus for the honor of naming a street in my honor. ‘Be Kind THE NINA WEST Way’ — I am speechless. I am so humbled. I am beyond proud to represent a city that has taught me so many invaluable lessons and allowed me to grow and be the best I can be. I am so in love with you, CBUS. Forever and always, and so proud to call you HOME. Huge thank to the Team Nina West group on Facebook who helped make this happen. I really don’t have words.”
West, who raises money for LGBTQIA-specific causes through her self-named foundation, praised Columbus in a Queerty interview last month. “The thing I am most proud of is representing my hometown of Columbus, Ohio with such pride,” she said at the time. “Columbus is this tremendous city of collaboration and heart, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and guidance of the community. I am so proud to be theirs.”
This week Taylor Swift launched an LGBT revolution, Jonathan Van Ness came out as non-binary, author Nicholas Sparks was outed as a racist homophobe, and Meghan McCain spent a whole hour masquerading as an ally. Here’s what happened on Instagram:
Darren Young went to South Beach.
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Letting that #Southbeach sun ?? kiss ? me before our screening of His, Her, and The Truth at American Black Film Festival @americanblackfilmfestival which screens dynamic content by and about people of African descent from around the world TOMORROW June 13th 4:30pm at the Regal Cinemas South Beach 18 & IMAX ? @hhttthefilm #HHTTthefilm #ABFF2019 #momshot ? @rosser1961 ?#whyhidehardwork #BLOCKTHEHATE • • • • #miamiproud #poweredbypride #closedfistopenheart #miami #fashion #fitness #equality #betrue #wwe #sobe #southflorida #sports #picoftheday #photooftheday #wrestling #dontgiveuponyourdreams #thedoubtersmademedoit #theresroomforeveryoneatthefinishline #filmfestival #director #cinema #movie #producer #nodaysoff FOLLOW my podcast @proandbrowrestling @miamibeachpd
Sarunas Jackson took a call.
Mena Massoud did some work.
Jussi-Pekka Kajaala got some sun.
Gus Kenworhty completed the AIDS LifeCycle.
Eric Radford made friends at the cottage.
Pietro Boselli rinsed off.
Sachin Bhatt smiled at Pride.
Garrett Magee got a new speedo.
Joshua Christie went off-roading in Ibiza.
Tom Daley lifted weights.
Eliad Cohen took a bath.
Jack Laugher felt strong.
Gio Benitez dined with Don Lemon.
Amini Fonua hung out.
Pete and Chasten Buttigieg looked at the land.
Adam Rippon got burned.
Steve Grand showed off his progress.
Walter Savage took a hike.
Matty Lee played tennis.
Nico Greetham wore his shirt around his neck.
Max Emerson showed some VPL in the window.
Simon Dunn enjoyed winter in Sydney.
Big Dipper wore pink for Pride.
Austin Mahone wrapped his head.
Le1f rolled in the grass.
Cheyenne Parker played ball.
Maluma brushed his teeth.
Thom Evans showed off his trainer.
And Dan Amboyer woke up on set.
We remember the return, but what about everything that led us to that point?
Couple of fun facts for the next party you attend (if it’s not in Buffalo)
- Kevin Dyson had never returned a kick of any sort in the NFL before the Music City Miracle
- Dyson was on the field because Derrick Mason had been banged up earlier in the game, and Mason’s backup Anthony Dorsett was suffering from cramps
- This was the first playoff win for Jeff Fisher. He’d win two more in these playoffs, then two more in the next 16 years of his career.
That last one can be mentioned at Buffalo based parties and really don’t have much to do with the Music City Miracle, it’s just a fun Fisher fact.
When the Titans and Bills met on Wild Card Weekend in 1999, they were franchises in very different places. Tennessee was not far removed from being the Oilers, and from being in Houston. Their new leaders were making their very first playoff appearance. And they had zero quarterback controversy.
The Bills meanwhile were making their tenth trip to the playoffs in 12 seasons. They were looking to move past the major disappointments of the 90s, but to do so had just made a massive change at the quarterback position. We all know the Music City Miracle, but do you remember what got us to that point?
For that, we need to rewind.
Some guys are sent “into gay fabulosity” when a certain song comes on. Others just let their queer flag fly when their gaydar pings.
The latter phenomenon is the subject of a recent Reddit thread titled, “Does anyone else turn their ‘gayness’ up to 11 when they see another guy that might be gay?”
“The other day at the store, I saw this guy who dressed and walked pretty ‘gay,’ and as a result, when I walked by him, I started acting a little bit gay myself, as in certain mannerisms and the way I was holding my basket changed to give him an idea that I was gay, too,” the original poster wrote. “Now, I wasn’t trying to hook up with him or anything, we were both just grocery shopping and minding our own business, but I felt strangely excited, like when two stranger dogs meet and get excited because they know they’re both dogs (if that makes any f*cking sense).”
“This needs video with a voiceover narration,” one commenter quipped. “Morgan Freeman would be a good narrator: ‘The male, having spotted a possible mate, exaggerates his movements to draw attention to himself…’”
But plenty of guys could relate to the OP’s experience. “This happened to me yesterday with a cashier who was clearly gay,” another commenter wrote.
“If I’m watching a show with a really sassy guy, like if I’m watching Queer Eye and JVN starts being his wonderful self, I feel empowered to embrace my more flamboyant side,” said a third. “I’m currently watching old seasons of Project Runway and one of the guys is that bitch and he makes me feel like a queen.”
A different user, meanwhile, said he doesn’t up his gayness in general, “only while watching [RuPaul’s Drag Race] with friends.”
And if you need a visual, one hero of a commenter provided a link to this immortal Brian Jordan Alvarez video:
I first connected with Ryan O’Connell in December of 2016. I had been working on a Queerty story–appropriately titled “Is Hollywood Finally Ready To Portray Disabled Gay Characters?–when I decided to reach out.
At the time, O’Connell had just finished writing a show about a gay and disabled character, based on his own life. He was excited about the idea of people seeing the show, but was struggling to find a home for it. After all, O’Connell pitched the show to six different networks, and they all passed.
“Here’s the thing: Putting a gay disabled character on television is very hard,” O’Connell said at the time. “Hell, putting a gay character as the lead of a TV show is hard. We’ve come a long way in the past few years, but the reality is that Hollywood is still living la vida Kevin James.”
When asked why he thought this was, O’Connell did not hold back. “I think Hollywood is largely not interested in disabled people because they don’t view us as ‘sexy’ or ‘cool.’ To [Hollywood], we are just sad and something to be pitied.”
Fortunately for him (and me, a gay and disabled fellow myself), the TV gods saw something sexy and cool about O’Connell. Nearly two and a half years after our initial conversation, it was announced that Netflix would air what is today known as Special.
And with season one of the show finally out for the world to see, many are thirsty for more. Queerty (okay, it was me) recently reconnected with O’Connell to get the scoop on what a second season of Special would look like (as of press time, no renewal has been announced), whether fame has gotten to his head, and why O’Connell is eager to take the next flight to Brazil, stat.
Ryan, thanks so much for taking time to chat. It’s been more than two months since Special premiered. How has life been? Have you had to like, avoid walking around The Grove, in fear of getting trampled?
Wow, trampled at The Grove. Is there anything chicer? (Actually, yes. Plenty of things.) I’m not gonna lie, life has been psycho. A few weeks ago I was getting hair and makeup done for some event, when my groomer just started performing energy work on me. It was then, in a full face of makeup while my forehead was being poked in an attempt to center my chakras, that I realized ‘Hmm. Maybe my life has changed a little.’
You always hear how fame has a way of “changing a person” which I think is a nice way of saying “fame has a way of turning some people into complete, batsh-t crazy lunatics.” Now that Special is out, have you noticed a change in your “celebrity status” so to speak, and how have you been handling it?
Are you asking if I am a disabled diva dictator now? [Laughs] No. I think having cerebral palsy is like being served the biggest slice of humble pie every single day. The second you start feeling yourself, you accidentally drool on a stranger and you are brought right back down to earth.
My editor wanted me to ask if fame has had any effect on your love life, but I understand you have a boyfriend, right? What’s he think of the show, and all your success?
I’m getting a surplus of DM’s from hot gay men in Brazil. Apparently everyone in Brazil is gorgeous and wears a speedo to their office – which is the beach – so I would love to visit there soon. And my boyfriend Jonathan is a total sweetie angel as per f*cking usual. He’s sort of like my stage mom. He’s always encouraging me to go after the things I want, even if those things are sexy men from Brazil, and seize the moment. I feel very lucky.
It seems everyone and their mom loved Special. How has the reaction to the show been on your end, from both the disabled and non-disabled community?
It’s been crazy positive. The response from the disabled community was the most important and meaningful for me. Whenever you’re one of the first people to tell a story about a large portion of the population that’s been ignored, there is pressure to get it right. And I had a lot of anxiety, because I knew that I could only speak from my experience. But everyone has just been so supportive.
I know after it premiered, a lot of people reached out to me personally, saying things like ‘You should be in this show!’ or ‘I saw so much of you in that character!’ How does hearing things like that feel? I can’t imagine the pressure of having to speak for and represent an entire population of gay, disabled folks.
I’ve only encountered a little bit of that. Sometimes people will tweet at me things like, ‘Are there going to be disabled POC or trans characters next season?’ and I get overwhelmed because I have no idea what next season’s going to look like storytelling wise. Really, my hope is that the success of Special forces Hollywood to pay attention and greenlight other shows from disabled creators. It’s ridiculous that 1 in 4 people identify as disabled and there are only two shows (me and This Close) on the air from disabled people.
I think a lot of people, no matter how well-intentioned, forget that – even though so many of us share the same disability – our experiences can be so very different.
Absolutely. And it’s not like ‘Oh, we have Special, yay, disabled people are accounted for, we’re good now!’ This is just the tip of the iceberg.
That said, I loved seeing someone like me (a fellow disgaybled) represented in a show. I found myself getting weirdly emotional during all the little moments, like when your character is struggling to shuffle a deck of cards, or button-up his shirt. Was including these little moments intentional on your part?
Sure. I mean, I just always tried to write from a place of truth. I wasn’t sitting there trying to hit certain marks or thinking ‘I need to show this and that.’ You write the story you want to tell, and from there, you include the things you need to serve that story.
Now let’s talk that sex scene, which was so wonderful and beautiful and amazing, mostly because it was just so normal. Did you always know how you wanted that scene to play out?
I did have a vision for that sex scene and thank god I had [co-star] Brian Jordan Alvarez, my director Anna Dokoza, and my director of photography, Phillip Roy, to help me bring it all to fruition. I just wanted to create a scene that felt real, that felt like the sex I’d been having for the past 14 years. Representation of gay sex is mostly nonexistent, and if it is included, the camera pans away or it’s some porny journey. I wanted to just be authentic and showcase the awkwardness and humor and tenderness that is getting f*cked in the ass.
Your character loses his virginity to a sex worker. Did you ever have any hesitation about that?
F*ck no. I love sex workers and think they’re totally under appreciated. A lot of that scene is borrowed from my IRL experiences with them.
Also kuddos to you for choosing the missionary position, which I’ve legally decided is one of the best positions for disabled people when it comes to f*cking.
Yas! Although I also like being on top, I’m a power bottom bitch who loves being in control.
Finally, who do I need to troll to get a season 2? But seriously, has there been any word on a getting a season 2?
If you want a Season 2, tell Netflix.
If you do get one, what are you hoping to accomplish in season 2?
It’ll be gayer and gimpier.
Name: Hannah Gadsby
Who she is: Australian comedian, actor, and writer
How she has contributed: Gadsby’s Netflix standup comedy special Nanette became one of the most talked about comedy specials and was met with critical acclaim for its deconstruction of more traditional standup comedy. This shift caused some to question whether to categorize Nanette as standup or not.
Gadsby’s brilliantly written special provides completely unique social commentary on LGBTQ and women’s issues as well as those of other marginalized people with soul-bearing honesty.
Why we’re proud: Female standup comedians are tapping into subject matter that has long been untouched in the male-dominated world of comedy. Comedians like Tig Notoro, Ali Wong, and Iliza Shlesinger have had successful Netflix specials devoted to topics told from a uniquely female perspective.
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Hannah Gadsby’s 2018 Netflix standup special Nanette not only presents the audience with her experiences as a queer woman, it also downright destroys the medium of comedy itself. The special quickly became one of the biggest water-cooler moments of the year and opened up the conversation around cis, straight, white patriarchy in a sincere and personal way.
Gadsby claims in the show that she will be giving up standup comedy and the show is structured around this notion. She opens up about growing up in Tasmania where 70 percent of the population, including her family and loved ones, believed that homosexuality was sin and how difficult it was for her to get over her own homophobia when she realized she was gay.
Nanette is also where Gadsby confesses her frustrations with the comedy tradition. As a queer woman (she jokingly claims to identify as “tired”) she realizes that self-deprecating humor is harmful to herself and the various marginalized identities that she occupies.
I have built a career out of self-deprecating humor and I don’t want to do that anymore. Do you understand what self-deprecation means when it come from somebody who already exists in the margins? It’s not humility, it’s humiliation. I put myself down in order to speak, in order to seek permission to speak, and I simply will not do that anymore, not to myself or anybody who identifies with me. If that means that my comedy career is over, then, so be it.
Viewers and critics alike have raised the question of whether Gadsby is merely giving an unsanctioned TED talk due to the lack of traditional jokes in Nanette. This deviation from the comedic norm, however, is what makes Nanette as powerful and moving as it is.
Rather than relying on easy punchlines, Gadsby builds tension and finds the comedic release in her irreverence.
Eight teams are in Omaha. Here are the most compelling championship matchups.
The college baseball season always feels like it will last forever, but the 2019 edition is heading toward a dramatic climax at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb
Eight teams remain vying for the College World Series trophy: Arkansas, Auburn, Florida State, Louisville, Michigan, Mississippi State, Texas Tech, and Vanderbilt. The Razorbacks and Commodores are far and away the betting favorites, but anything can happen in Omaha.
There are many possible title matchups among those remaining — from SEC rivalries and a redemption tour to an iconic coach looking to end his career on a high note — but these are the ones I would most like to see because they have the greatest potential for excitement:
Florida State vs. Anyone
Any college baseball fan who doesn’t have a dog in the hunt is probably on the Florida State bandwagon and rooting for a Mike Martin victory in Omaha.
Florida State’s coach is a no-doubt Hall of Famer with an NCAA-record 2,028 wins in 40 seasons but no national championships. Before the 2019 season, he announced that he would be retiring following this one last hurrah and here he is with a last crack at the title.
The Seminoles rolled through the Athens regional and upset No. 7 overall seed Georgia. They then swept LSU in the Baton Rouge super regional the following week. The last three teams to eliminate LSU — Coastal Carolina in the 2016 super regional, Florida in the 2017 CWS final, and Oregon State in the 2018 regional — went on to win the title.
Martin wants to ride off into the sunset on a high note. The players want to win it for their coach. The fans are along for the ride. Florida State has all the tools to win a title in Omaha.
Arkansas vs Mississippi State
This would be a battle of two recent Southeastern Conference superpowers. The two schools have 19 CWS appearances between them, but neither has lifted the trophy at the end of it.
Arkansas is looking to redeem itself after a missed pop fly ruined the Razorbacks’ chance in the 2018 CWS final. Mississippi State, meanwhile, is hoping to win it all with its third coach in three years.
Led by SEC hits leader Jake Mangum and a dominant pitching combo in Ethan Small and JT Ginn, this is probably the most talented and deepest Mississippi State lineup Starkville has seen in years.
This is by far the most exciting possible matchup, and I would expect a series between the two to go the full three games.
Arkansas vs Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt — the No. 2 overall seed — is the only team on its side of the bracket with the pitching and hitting to take down Mississippi State. That same pitching staff could possibly roll through the Razorbacks.
The Commodores, who were the only team of the preseason top-three to make it to Omaha, took two of three games in the regular-season matchup back in April. With freshman right-hander Kumar Rocker — who pitched a no-hitter against Duke in the super regional round — on the mound and fourth-overall MLB draft pick JJ Bleday leading the offense, Vandy brings explosive potential to any series.
This is the most likely matchup, and I would expect more excitement if they face each other again.
Michigan vs Anybody
Everybody loves a good Cinderella story. It happens in March Madness every year and we all find ourselves inexplicably cheering for whoever that may be. In this College World Series, the Michigan Wolverines are that team.
Michigan went from one of the “last four in” teams to upsetting the reigning national champion Oregon State in the Corvallis regional and then No. 1-overall seed UCLA in the Los Angeles super regional on their way to Omaha.
The Wolverines have proven they can beat anybody, but they will need to limit errors and walks in order to do so again. Timely hitting and pitching could carry them to their first national championship since 1962.
Louisville vs Texas Tech
Louisville and Tech Tech have been two of the most consistent teams all season, both entering the NCAA tournament as national seeds. Each team arrives in Omaha with one big star leading the way.
Cardinals shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald believes this 2019 team is even deeper than Louisville’s 2017 lineup, the last time the program appeared in the CWS.
“Once we get going, it’s kind of like a train,” Fitzgerald told The Courier Journal. “We just have guys that step up from top to bottom. And I think we’re a little bit deeper in our hitters (than) the ’17 team. Not that those guys weren’t good; they had some amazing hitters. But I think the gap between our bottom hitter and our top hitter is smaller than it was back then. We’re just pretty deep 1-through-9.”
Similarly, Texas Tech has hit its stride as a program in recent seasons — reaching the CWS four times in the last five years — but has yet to lift the trophy. The Red Raiders, led by first-round MLB draft pick Josh Jung, have showed that they have what it takes to compete.
Both teams are out to prove they are among the elite of college baseball to stay, and they would combine for a compelling matchup.
Auburn vs Arkansas
Auburn may be the biggest surprise of this year’s NCAA tournament. The Tigers went 14-16 in conference play and were bounced in two games in the SEC Tournament before sweeping through the Atlanta regional and upsetting North Carolina in the super regional.
Auburn has turned around its offensive production and an injured pitching staff has persevered to close games.
Arkansas took two of three games from Tigers during the regular-season series, including a 15-inning 6-9 victory. But, like Bruce Pearl’s basketball team, this Auburn team is peaking at the right time and has shown up in big games.
New York City-based fitness trainer Ben Unger gained captured the spotlight in 2015 when he and a co-plaintiff sued—and won against—the organization that provided them with “conversion therapy,” a fraudulent practice that claims to change sexual orientation but is really simply emotional and sometimes physical abuse.
Unger’s suit shut the JONAH organization down, but he’s not done yet. Now he’s got his sights set on making conversion therapy illegal throughout the nation.
On the personal front, Unger has shed what he describes as a shame-based, antigay upbringing, to become the founder of Ben Unger Fitness (BUF), which focuses on personal training & nutrition coaching in New York City.
Unger shared with Queerty his journey of coming out and conquering the toxic snares of his past.
Where did you grow up?
I grew in a predominantly ultra right-wing orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, NY, called Borough Park.
What were the challenges?
As a gay man who grew up Orthodox Jewish, one of the biggest issues I faced was dealing with the shame of having to reconcile my sexuality with the belief system I grew up with. I went to boys-only Orthodox Jewish schools called “Yeshivos,” and there was absolutely zero education on any topics in regard to sex. The only thing taught was that homosexuality is a sin and anyone openly gay should be shamed. These teachings caused me a great deal of sadness, especially as I entered my high school and post-high school years, and the dating world loomed nearer. It was during these times that I truly realized how different I was than my peers. While most of my friends talked about girls constantly, I was extremely distracted by my male peers, whom I was around 12 hours a day. The fact I had to keep all of these feelings a secret, without any outlet whatsoever, caused me so much shame and eventually spun me into a massive depressive state.
What did you dream of becoming during this period in your life?
My dream was to marry a girl at the age expected of me (around 23 or 24) and start a traditional Orthodox Jewish family. My plan was to live in Israel for two years to concentrate on studying ancient Jewish texts, grow spiritually, and then come back to the United States to continue my studies part-time while pursuing a career to support my family. I realized, however, that I needed to reconcile my attraction towards other men in order to do this. This drove me to start “reparative therapy,” also known as “conversion therapy,” to try to eliminate my attraction to guys. This therapy led me to an even darker and deeper depressive state.
How did you find your way to a new, freer, or creative place?
After approximately one year in conversion therapy, I realized everything I was taught growing up and in therapy were completely bogus and counterintuitive to me leading a happy and productive life. I left the therapy, as well as the Jewish school I was still studying at. My father had a small business at the time, and I started working there doing various odd jobs. However, even as I grew more distant from the community that had caused me so much shame, I still felt alone in the world. I lost almost all my friends. It was during this time that I stumbled upon an organization called Jewish Queer Youth and my life began to change for the better. I finally met other people who grew up in the same community as me and who were dealing with the same struggles I was dealing with. I even met other men who escaped the horrors of conversion therapy. It was connecting with these people that started me off on a path of healing.
How did you go about creating a better environment for yourself with a chosen family?
Even after becoming a part of this new community, I still had a lot of toxic people in my life. I realized that in order for me to fully heal and lead a happy life, I needed to shed this toxicity and surround myself with people who exude positive energy, have meaning and purpose, and constantly work towards building a better life, both for themselves and others. I learned to surround myself with people, both LGBTQ and straight, who had these qualities. Even in my professional life, as the founder of a fitness company, I only hire people who exude these qualities and are a pleasure to be around, because I know surrounding myself with such people makes me better, both as a professional and as a general human being.
What would you advise others considering undertaking such a journey?
The advice I’d give anyone undertaking such a journey is that just dreaming of a better life isn’t enough. If you want to truly find a purpose in life and be happy, you need to create a plan of action to proactively get what you want. If that means escaping a toxic environment that causes you shame, find a place where you can meet like-minded people and start planning the steps necessary to find a better environment. If you’re living with toxic parents, create a game plan on what you’ll need to do to afford to live somewhere else. It’s not easy and may not happen right away, but with a proper plan and a proactive attitude, you will get what you want in life.
Looking back, what lessons have you lived?
The main lesson I learned is to never, ever let anyone else tell you how to live your life or what should make you happy. Only you can figure that out. Also, when things seem bleak, keep going. It’s so hard to keep pushing forward during hard times, but if you do things will get better.
It’s only a matter of when.
Bonefish Harry’s, a Massachusetts restaurant with locations in Beverly and Lynn, shared a letter this week it said it received after hanging an LGBTQ Pride flag outside its locations.
Owen Donaldson, the Beverly resident who wrote the letter, said he had eaten at the restaurant several times but would not patronize it any longer “because you have chosen to publically support activity which is immoral.”
Said the restaurant in a Facebook post sharing the letter: “To all of our loyal guests, today we received this letter declaring our restaurant immoral for hanging a Gay Pride flag from our restaurant in support of our fellow humans for Gay Pride Month. We consider this letter an attempt to bully us to remove our flag and to slander our business. We will not stand for this type of behavior and will never give in to these types of unaccepting bigoted people. We will always stand side by side with everyone in our community! We will continue to fly this flag and we are proud to show our support for all of our community members.”
The letter was posted on June 12 and immediately received thousands of shares. But some commenters questioned the authenticity of the letter, accusing the restaurant of faking it.
The Salem News reports: “The Salem News attempted to locate a person by the name of Owen Donaldson living in Beverly or on the North Shore. But a search of public records, including the city clerk’s resident lists for Beverly and several area communities, property records, available phone listings, social media, and a general search of the internet shows no one by that name living in the area.”
The restaurant returned to Facebook on Thursday, defending the authenticity of the letter, writing: “Facebook world, we appreciate the out pouring of support from everyone near and far. We want to make sure the focus of this is on accepting everyone in our community without bias and prejudgement. We are aware that there are people questioning the validity of the letter, the author and whether our restaurant had written this letter. We have no idea who Owen is or if he really exists. We 100% did not write this letter or know who did. What we do know is that we support everyone in our community and welcome everyone in our restaurants. Now lets get back to tacos and maitais!”
They have since announced a benefit for LGBTQ youth as well: “We are proud to announce that we have partnered with North Shore Alliance of GLBTQ Youth and their President Kirsten Freni for a couple of fundraisers for the group this summer. We will be selling rainbow tie die t shirts at both of our restaurants starting next week with 100% of the proceeds going directly to the group. We are also planning a couple of great nights in both Lynn and Beverly to raise money and awareness for this great cause.”
Here is the bracket and schedule for all the action in Omaha.
The 2019 college baseball season began with 297 Division I teams vying for the national championship and now just eight teams will battle for the College World Series title at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.
The regional and super regional rounds have narrowed down the tournament field from 64 to these eight teams. Among those left standing is a team looking for redemption (Arkansas), an iconic coach looking for his first title (Florida State), and a Cinderella story (Michigan). Everyone in Omaha will be looking to take down the favorite (Vanderbilt).
The Pac-12 sends no teams to Omaha after No. 1 overall seed UCLA was eliminated by Michigan, while the SEC sends four, including No. 2-overall seed Vanderbilt.
Full Slate of Teams
- Arkansas Razorbacks
- Auburn Tigers
- Florida State Seminoles
- Louisville Cardinals
- Michigan Wolverines
- Mississippi State Bulldogs
- Texas Tech Red Raiders
- Vanderbilt Commodores
The remaining eight teams will battle in two double-elimination brackets until two teams remain. The final two teams remaining will then play a best-of-three series from June 24-26.
Television & online coverage
All games in the CWS will be television on ESPN and its related networks — including ESPN2 and ESPNU. Online streaming is available through the WatchESPN app.
Schedule and results
All times ET
Saturday, June 15
Game 1: Michigan vs Texas Tech at 2 p.m.
Game 2: Florida State vs Arkansas at 7 p.m.
Sunday, June 16
Game 3: Louisville vs Vanderbilt at 2 p.m.
Game 4: Auburn vs Mississippi State at 7 p.m.
Monday, June 17
Game 5: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 at 2 p.m.
Tuesday, June 18
Game 6: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 at 7 p.m.
Game 7: Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 at 2 p.m.
Wednesday, June 19
Game 8: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 at 7 p.m.
Game 9: Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6 at 7 p.m.
Thursday, June 20
Game 10: Winner Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8 at 8 p.m.
Friday, June 21
Game 11: Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 9 at 2 p.m.
Game 12: Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 10 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, June 22
Game 13 (if necessary): TBD vs. TBD at 2 p.m.
Game 14 (if necessary): TBD vs. TBD at 7 p.m.
College World Series Finals, June 24-26
Game 1: TBD vs. TBD at 7 p.m.
Game 2: TBD vs. TBD at 7 p.m.
Game 3 (if necessary): TBD vs. TBD at 7 p.m.
Stephen Colbert blasted the Trump administration’s ban on U.S. embassies flying LGBTQ Pride flags.
“Makes sense, they need that space for the new banners that say, ‘Now accepting election interference,’” the Late Show host quipped.
Colbert then noted that “the embassies are rebelling” and putting the Pride flag on the facade of the embassies rather than the flagpoles.
“Finding ways to break the rules is what Pride is all about. Remember, this all started with a clash with police over their oppressive anti-gay tactics,” explained Colbert, turning his attention to the parade. “And that spirit of rebellion is now so fittingly captured on the ‘T Mobile: Our Pride Is Unlimited’ floats.”
The post Stephen Colbert Rips Trump’s Embassy Rainbow Flag Ban, Hails the Spirit of Pride Rebellion: WATCH appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.