Growing up, John Amaechi always felt different: He was 6'10", mixed-race, with a Nigerian father and a British mother who raised him in Stockport, England, then he was doubly an outsider attending high school in the mid-1980s in Toldeo, Ohio and college at Vanderbilt and Penn State. So being gay was just one more distinction. Naturally he played basketball, but he was atypical in professional sports as well. In 2000, Amaechi turned down a $17 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in order to play for $600,000 a year with the Orlando Magic. His reason? Three years before, Orlando had been the only team to consider picking him up after his European stint. He also played for the Chicago Bulls, the Houston Rockets, and the Utah Jazz before retiring in 2003. His career stats can be found here. Early in 2007 he became the first player associated with the NBA to come out, when ESPN Books published his autobiography, Man in the Middle. He is beautifully articulate. He owns a consulting company that provides motivational speakers and executive training, and he runs the ABC Foundation in Manchester which works to build youth sports centers throughout the U.K.
A Pulitzer Prize finalist for his memoir about his complex father issues, openly gay Richard Rodriguez gave a long interview to Salon about Prop 8 and its aftermath. If you're feeling intellectually curious, and calm, you should read it. I'll let him speak for himself but I urge you to follow the link for context:
* What we represent as gays in America is an alternative to the traditional male-structured society. The possibility that we can form ourselves sexually -- even form our sense of what a sex is -- sets us apart from the traditional roles we were given by our fathers.
* But the real challenge to the family right now is male irresponsibility and misbehavior toward women. If the Hispanic Catholic and evangelical churches really wanted to protect the family, they should address the issue of wife beating in Hispanic families and the misbehaviors of the father against the mother. But no, they go after gay marriage. It doesn't take any brilliance to notice that this is hypocrisy of such magnitude that you blame the gay couple living next door for the fact that you've just beaten your wife.
* Religions have the capacity for being noble and ennobling but they are also the expression of some of the darkest impulses in us -- to go after the "other." For Christians, if the other isn't the Muslim, it's the homosexual. That is the most discouraging part.
* I think gay activists should be very careful with this issue. We should not present ourselves as enemies of religion… I was a little concerned about the recent protests outside the Los Angeles Mormon temple. I've seen this sort of demonstration escalate into a sort of deliberate exercise of blasphemy. For example, in the most severe years of the AIDS epidemic, activists from ACT UP went into St. Patrick's Cathedral, took the communion wafer and threw it on the ground. That is exactly the wrong thing to do. One should be respectful of the religious impulse in the world. If we decide to make ourselves anti-religious, we will only lose.
* I am very much concerned with whether or not these religions can be feminized. The desert religions -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam -- are male religions. Their perception is that God is a male god and Allah is a male god. If the male is allowed to hold onto the power of God, then I think we are in terrible shape. I think what's coming out of Colorado Springs right now, with people like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, is either the last or continuing gasp of a male hierarchy in religion.
This would be impossible to imagine if he were an out teenager today, but the musical prodigy Virgil Thomson was stuck at a Kansas City, Missouri local junior college and was only able to attend Harvard thanks to a Mormon scholarship, awarded because he was friends with one of Joseph Smith's granddaughters. In Cambridge, he thrived. With the glee club he bopped to Paris, at the invitation of Bernard Fay. Fay was a well connected gay man who would later become a Nazi collaborator, sending many to their deaths while saving Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas; for that story, read Janet Malcolm's Two Lives.
It was the musical Toklas who from the background guided the partnership of Stein and Thomson when he returned to live in Paris in the 20s. Together they created the landmark opera Four Saints in Three Acts, revolutionary for its all black cast, which finally premiered in 1934 in Hartford. Thirteen years later, just before Stein's death, they created an opera about lesbian icon Susan B. Anthony, The Mother of Us All. By that time, Thomson had already composed music for three films, most memorably Pare Lorentz's The River, and was midway through his fourteen years as music critic for the New York Herald-Tribune. (He hated the work of Britten, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, and Sibelius, among others.) In 1948, he scored a shambling b&w film about a Cajun boy, his pet raccoon, a hungry alligator, and the threat of an oil rig on the bayou, Louisiana Story, winning 1949's Pulitzer Prize for music.
He lived for another forty years, at the Chelsea hotel with his partner Maurice Grosser, in diminishing circumstances. Of course, times changed, and his compositions were not played by American orchestras as often as he had counted on when he quit his job as a critic. He became something of a father figure to the next generation of gay composers and artists, most prominently Leonard Bernstein, Paul Bowles, John Cage, Lou Harrison, Frank O'Hara, and Ned Rorem. Thomson penned his autobiography in 1966, won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 1982 for his reader, and was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor in 1983. He died in 1989, a year after Grosser. Anthony Tommasini has written the definitive biography, Virgil Thomson: Composer on the Aisle.
Excuse me while I turn cartwheels over babysteps and feast on crumbs, but the Met's new show Art & Love in Renaissance Italy displays several works depicting romances between men. In a significant move forward for an institution that has consistently degayed art history, this major exhibit features works in oil, ink, and ceramics that show male couples or homoerotic scenes created by Parmigianino, Giulio Romano, Perino del Vaga, Giorgio Andreoli, and Salviati. Unlike the identifications in the restored Greek and Roman Galleries, the written descriptions here directly address and illuminate the subjects' obvious homosexuality. In fact, curators have gone out of their way to be inclusive; in order to prove the breadth of Olympian gods' sexual appetites, they even show in reproduction a gay image when they were unable to obtain the original, Apollo and Hyancinth [above].
One problem is that the gay works are confined to the section on Erotica. Any show about art and love in Italy during the Renaissance ought to include, among many other highlights, Michelangelo's love sonnets to the young Tommaso de'Cavalieri, but the exhibit limits gay experience to sex. Luckily, the Erotica section is curated by Linda Wolk-Simon, the author and art historian who has been with the museum for twenty-two years. She sees through the glass closet of the 15th and 16th centuries, writing in the catalog:
The index has more than a dozen entries for homoeroticism, homosexuality, sodomy, Apollo, Cyparissus, Ganymede, Hyacinth, and Priapus. Inadequate though that is, it must be seen as an improvement.
I saw the exhibit twice last week, Tuesday and Friday, and on both visits I flew through the early rooms of objects in order to spend more time with paintings by Botticelli, Lorenzo di Credi, Filippo Lippi, Lo Scheggia, Pollaiuolo, Lotto, Giorgione, and two each by Ghirlandaio, Ercole de' Roberti, Biagio d'Antonio, and Titian.
Of course, I did study the ceramics in the Erotica section particularly some fragments that rival the Warren Cup's frankness, and this ceramic "Phallic-Head Plate" on loan from Oxford. The descriptive card translates the ribbon as saying, "Every man looks at me as if I were a dickhead." Hollywood humor -- or a nightmare Gahan Wilson New Yorker drawing -- fresh from 1536.
Now through February 16.
Focus Features ran their big announcement ad in yesterday's papers, the final Sunday before their best shot at an Oscar opens on Wednesday, and it hides any hint of the movie's gay content. Setting aside the problem of an ad campaign that forces the gay activist who insisted on gay visibility back into the closet after thirty years of progress, is it even good marketing? In all seriousness, if you didn't know Harvey Milk, what would you think this movie was about? Wisconsin dairy farmers? The milk lobby? Really bad haircuts? Compare this to the poster for Rob Espstein's documentary, which clearly shows a politician and the tagline says he's gay.
In a country where some people can't say on what date the events the of 9/11 occurred, let's not pretend "everyone knows" the history of a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978. For that matter, let's also not pretend to be too surprised. As soon as Brokeback Mountain proved its crossover appeal, Focus yanked the iconic Heath-n-Jake white hat-black hat ads and replaced them with photos of the men and their wives. Hollywood always aims for the widest common denominator, erasing any sign of otherness. The one sheet for Dreamgirls showed three women in silhouette, with their backs to the camera and swathed in red stage light, so viewers wouldn't see they were black.
The Academy Awards arbiters announced the fifteen films on their short list for the feature length documentary prize, and one glaring omission is the biggest gay doc of the year, Chris & Don: A Love Story. Other high-profile snubs were Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, Dear Zachary, The Order of Myths, and Bill Maher's Religulous. Those that made it were:
"At the Death House Door, directed by Peter Gilbert and Steve James
**"The Betrayal" (Nerakhoon), directed by Ellen Kuras
**"Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh", directed by Roberta Grossman
**"Encounters at the End of the World", directed by Werner Herzog [photo above]
"Fuel", directed by Josh Tickell
"The Garden", directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy
"Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts", directed by Scott Hicks
"I.O.U.S.A.", directed by Patrick Creadon
"In a Dream", directed by Jeremiah Zagar
"Made in America", directed by Stacy Peralta
**"Man on Wire", directed by James Marsh
**"Pray the Devil Back to Hell", directed by Gini Reticker
**"Standard Operating Procedure", directed by Errol Morris
"They Killed Sister Dorothy", directed by Daniel Junge
**"Trouble the Water", directed by Carl Deal and Tia Lessin
The final five will be announced with all the other Oscar nominees [Milk] on January 22. I've narrowed my predictions to seven, marked with **. Feel free to contradict; this is not my category.
Festival favorite Were the World Mine opens today in New York, San Francisco, and Berkeley. Reviewing for the NYT, Stephen Holden said the gay puppylove musical set during a Chicago high school's production of Midsummer Night's Dream "is an enchanting, mildly subversive fantasia that reconciles sassy teenage argot with Elizabethan." He added:
Two weeks ago Shamim Sarif's new movie was released starring Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth as lesbians in love. Today Shamim Sarif's new movie was released starring Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth as lesbians in love. Is this a movie theater or an echo chamber? Why Regent Releasing thought it was smart to put out The World Unseen and I Can't Think Straight fourteen days apart is anyone's guess. It didn't seem to win over NYT critic Jeannette Catsoulis, who wrote:
Dreaming of it throughout her childhood in Paris, Tennesse and during her ten years with the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cherry Jones finally made her Broadway debut in 1991 as the angel in Angels in America. Four years later she starred in The Heiress and became an "instant" success. She was also the first out lesbian to win a Tony for Best Actress and in her speech she thanked her partner of nine years, the architect Mary O'Connor. To celebrate her win, which happened on O'Connor's fortieth birthday, they fled the city and drove to their friends' farm, where they walked the land and drank coffee as the sun rose. In Manhattan, they frequently rode bicycles. After a number of supporting roles in movies (Erin Brokovich, Signs, The Village, and best of all Ocean's Twelve), she won her second Tony for her fourth nomination, for the leading role in Doubt. Again, she thanked her partner, this time the actress Sarah Paulson, nineteen years her junior. Love happens. Now they've been together five years, but Jones' life is not 100% perfect (even though Fox of all channels hired her - an out lesbian - to play the president on 24). For the movie version of Doubt, opening next month, she didn't get to reprise the role she originated. Instead, the part will be played by an actress named Meryl Streep. (Variety said Streep "overdoes the melodrama" in a "disconcerting, unsatisfying performance;" Jones says Meryl is magnificent in it.)
Published here two days ago, P.D. James' new Adam Dalgliesh novel The Private Patient again includes gay characters, nicely proving her gay couple in The Lighthouse wasn't a one time whim. The action is divided between London and a 400 year-old manor house in Dorset that has been converted into a private clinic for cosmetic surgery. A well-known investigative journalist, Rhoda Gradwyn, checks in to have a facial scar removed and never checks out. (Not a spoiler; the opening sentence says she'll die in three weeks.) The assisting surgeon, Marcus, is gay but far more closeted than his boyfriend Eric, who wants to go to pride. An endearing, London lesbian couple, Annie and Clara, also appear in a few scenes and, significantly, they are given the book's final words. The short last chapter, almost a benediction, is set at a straight wedding in Oxford, but it slyly ignores the nuptials and concentrates on the lesbians, who embody then discuss the power of love.
Well played, Baroness James!
Oh, something terrible and tragic -- but not fatal -- befalls one of the lgbt characters, as you might reasonably expect in a murder mystery. Longtime James readers will find all the hallmarks of her work: the expertly drawn characters, the magnificent sense of place, and the references to her beloved Austen. The book isn't among her very best but it's still a ripping read. The plot zips right along and if it feels a touch forumlaic, that can probably be forgiven. This is her twentieth book. Remarkably, James is 88 and as tough and unsentimental as ever.
Thirteen years ago activist and lesbian theorist Geneviève Pastre founded Les Mauves, the French gay political party. She came out officially when she was fifty-six and published her essay, "About Lesbian Love." She followed that with books such as Homosexuality in the Ancient World and Athens and the Sapphic Peril, which if you were feeling trippy you might classify as Foucault 3.0. Unhappy with mainstream publishing's attitude toward her work, she started her own publishing house, Editions de Geneviève Pastre. Multimedia before most, she was elected president of France's national gay radio station in 1982 and continued to host a weekly radio show well into her sixties. Among their other accomplishments, Les Mauves helped get the WHO to stop classifying homosexuality as a mental illness and convinced Amnesty to consider gay people for political asylum. Today turns eighty-four.
Twenty-one years after his first book was published, Mark Doty has won the National Book Award for his seventh volume of poetry, Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems. Like his four books of nonfiction, Doty's poems are explicit about gay life, love, and sex. One of his early poems collected here is about Hadrian's lover Antinous and another, titled Adonis, is about an old movie theater that now shows gay porn. His long poem The Vault, ostensibly about the gay sex club, is loaded with allusions to classical, Middle English, and 20th century literature.
His finalist award citation reads:
Doty teaches at the University of Houston and divides his time between New York and Provincetown. Special congratulations also to Sandy Leonard, who recognized Doty's genius before almost everyone else, in the very early 90s.
The nonfiction prize was awarded to Annette Gordon-Reed for The Hemingses of Monticello, which my bf loved. (He speculates that Sally Hemings' brother James was probably gay. James, a slave, became a master chef in Paris while Jefferson was ambassador to France, never married, demanded his freedom back in the U.S., got it, and later killed himself.) Gordon-Reed is the first black woman to win the National Book Award for nonfiction. And it's her birthday.
Did you think you'd live long enough to see the Guggenheim devote an entire show to an out lesbian's photography chronicling not celebrities but everyday gay life? Now through January 7, four floors feature the mid-career retrospective, Catherine Opie: American Photographer, with each level dedicated to a different area of her eclectic work: 2) b&w depopulated mini malls and freeway overpasses; 4) color portraits 5) icehouse fishing huts and surfers 7) home and neighborhood scenes.
Thanks to Mapplethorpe and others, viewers have already seen men from the backroom at the Eagle immortalized in heavy, formal b&w portraits on the walls of the world's greatest museums, but Opie poses her subjects from the so-called fringe against vibrant solid colors. And she isn't out to shock. She's equally interested in commonplace domestic scenes of lesbian couples or friends photographed at home in Tulsa, Durham, Minneapolis, Bayside, Manhattan, or California. Not so long ago it would have been difficult to imagine major curators considering a picture of four baby dykes named Flipper, Tanya, Chloe, and Harriet sitting around a kitchen table in San Francisco to be an important American image. Opie never sensationalizes, even when juxtaposing self portraits of cutting and breastfeeding.
Of the entire show I thought the most beautiful work was her series of icehouses, showing a thin line of color in an immensity of white sky and snow in northern Minnesota. Her surfers are shot in the same style, as tiny flecks in an enormous sea, but I didn't find them as moving. (However, I do like her more recent football players.) I also loved her photos of 50s and 60s mansions around Los Angeles, where the soaring pretensions of Beverly Hills are undercut by a taller streetlight, or the ironwork of the gate is more interesting than the house.
Friday evenings from 5:45 to 7:45 visitors can pay whatever they want to enter the museum. If you won't be in New York before January 7, the Guggenheim's website covers each topic in the show, or you can buy the extensive catalog.
Tickets are still available to hear Opie discuss photography with Gregory Crewdson and the show's curator, Jennifer Blessing on Monday, December 8 at 6:30pm. I'd love it if someone would go and write about it. That's the exact time I'll be at MoMA listening to Marlene Dumas.
In 1958, when native Texan Morris Kight arrived in Los Angeles, he was almost forty and ready to fight for gay rights, but he considered the Mattachine Society elitist. In reaction, he co-founded the third branch of the Gay Liberation Front, after New York and Berkeley. One of their earliest battles was against a West Hollywood diner called Barney's Beanery which had a painted sign and printed matchbooks with the misspelled warning Fagots Stay Out. After three months of protests, sit-ins, and media glare, the owner removed the original sign, but as soon as the attention subsided, he remounted an identical sign and kept it on display until 1984. In June 1970 to celebrate the first anniversary of Stonewall, Kight helped organize Christopher Street West, which was only permitted after he, Troy Perry, and the ACLU sued reluctant city officials and the hostile police department and for the right to have a parade.
Kight's proudest moment came in October 1971, when he and two other activists opened the nation's first gay and lesbian community center. With his sometimes abrasive strategies and leftist politics, Kight had many detractors within the movement. One of those was David Goodstein who transformed the Advocate from a newspaper to a magazine and prohibited his reporters from writing about Kight and other people he thought hurt the image of gay rights. Kight's protest of anti-gay Coors created a public disaster for Outfest, which had finally convinced the brewery to sponsor their film festival. He was also a vocal critic of 1978's proposed amendment to ban gay teachers from public schools. In January 2003, Kight donated his 3,000-item collection of art, papers, and memorabilia to the ONE Institute. Three days later he died, at eighty-three, survived by his partner of twenty-five years, Roy Zucheran.
I met him backstage at the Stonewall 25 rally in New York. He was awesome and very, very cranky when the announcer called him Morris Knight.
Last night I arrived at the Union Square B&N two hours fifteen minutes before Toni Morrison's reading from her new novel A Mercy, and when she was finished, I asked the first question. (Good thing on both counts: Even then I only got a middle seat six rows back and the staff limited the 700 or 800 people to four quick questions.) Of course I wanted to know about Scully and Willard, the white gay couple. She answered for everyone who had not yet read the book that they were "a pair" and gave some background on their status as indentured servants. She said at first they were "non-speaking" characters but they grew on her. Wanting to hear her discuss the gay aspect, I allowed myself a follow-up question about their being the first male couple she's written. She considered and said, "Yes. Yes, they are. To that extent, yes. In Virginia at that time  there just weren't any women."
Later, as she was signing my copy of the novel, I thanked her again for Willard and Scully, saying it meant a lot to me for her to include them. She lit up, as though hearing news of favorite mutual friends. She said, "They're lovely people, aren't they? Especially the young one. He has so much optimism [?]. I love that line when he says 'He did not want to spend his life just searching for something to eat and love.'"
She might have said energy, but I think it was optimism. I was distracted because she had mysteriously begun to a write a J in my book after the staff had informed us ten times during the wait that she would only write her name, not inscribe. So in the middle of signing "Toni Morrison" perhaps a thousand or fifteen hundred times, she unaccountably began that fishhook J. She laughed and we all puzzled over it. [Maybe because she had just unexpectedly signed Jazz in the middle of a thousand copies of A Mercy?]
(The staff had also informed us that she very much did not want to be photographed. Dozens and dozens of people ignored her request and took pictures anyway; I refrained, which doesn't help you much. For the record, the other questions were about her experience with audio books and a comment she made on NPR about Bacon's Rebellion. She emphasized pointedly that so many people -- Native American, British, African -- were enslaved at that time and it was only later that blacks were singled out.)
Half Italian and half East Indian, Toronto native Emanuel Sandhu enrolled in dance school when he was three and won a spot in Canada's National Ballet School when he was eight. He stayed for ten years before devoting himself full-time to ice skating, winning his first Canadian Men's Skating Championship three years later with a perfect score. He has won it twice more since then, placing first or second each of the nine years between 1998 and 2006. In 2007 he was third. In the Q&A on his official website, four of his first ten answers are Madonna (music, movie, hero, desert island companion), so don't be surprised that on his MySpace page Sandhu identifies himself as "future pop superstar of the world." Both sites play his song Burn Up the Floor. Today he turns twenty-eight.
The clip from his audition for So You Think You Can Dance Canada features his coach saying "The ego! Sometimes too big!" followed by an earnest Sandhu announcing, "Dancing is my favorite language. It's body language. And I love it."
Like any other future drag star born in 1960, RuPaul spent his childhood in San Diego lipsynching Supremes songs, being called names, avoiding sports, and winning the two most important prizes in junior high: Best Dancer and Best Afro. High school didn't go as well (he was expelled for not attending), until he moved to Atlanta with his brother and sister-in-law at sixteen. He began to blossom, thanks largely to drama class, though his attendance in every other subject was still a problem. Eventually he dropped out, got his GED, started community college, and quit. When he was twenty-two he appeared on the American Music Show with two girls as RuPaul and the U-Hauls. When he was thirty-two, the nation was coming down from twelve years of Reagan-Bush, grunge was peaking, and RuPaul put on her best blonde wig, her brightest jewels, her fiercest heels, and taught the whole world to sing, "Sashay, chante!" "Work it, girl!" and "You better work!"
Oddly, that hit, Supermodel, only reached #45 on the pop charts, but it remained in heavy rotation on MTV forever and became a cultural moment. Whereas most drag representations before her were catty and bitchy, RuPaul's message was love everybody; everybody, love! Subsequent singles milked the same bouncy vibe but failed to catch on with the masses, though people with impeccable taste I have always preferred Back to my Roots, a history of black hairstyles in three danceable minutes. Adding to her list of drag queen firsts, RuPaul became the face of MAC cosmetics and sang a duet with Elton John. She co-hosted KTU's popular morning show for two years and hosted her own tv show on VH1 attracting guests as diverse as Backstreet Boys, Diana Ross, Dennis Rodman, Cher, Eartha Kitt, Bea Arthur, Christina Crawford, Little Richard, Tammy Faye Baker, Mary Tyler Moore, 'N Sync, Pat Benetar, and John Waters. Long rumored to want to release more serious music as a man, RuPaul put out comeback albums in 2004 and 2006 that fizzled, but her 2007 movie Starrbooty was popular at lgbt film festivals. In January, Logo will launch a new series, RuPaul's Drag Race.
Sparked by outrage over Prop 8's passage in California, supporters of gay marriage demonstrated in more than 300 rallies across America on Saturday. Towleroad, quickly becoming the CNN of the gay world, has a phenomenal gallery of snapshots from (so far) seventy-nine rallies in thirty-seven states plus DC.
New York City's demonstration was a huge success, held under unexpectedly sunny skies after a morning of torrential downpours. A variety of speakers shared personal stories and urged listeners to action. Out lesbian Kim Stolz (Brearley, Wesleyan, America's Next Top Model) was a crowd favorite as she dissed straight pop princess and girl-tease / gay hater Katy Perry (inexplicably the only woman chosen for the cover of Out magazine's Hot 100 issue).
Another speaker asked everyone to take out their cell phones, enter the number 718-991-3161, and remember to call it Monday morning to ask Democratic State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. to support his fellow Democrat Malcolm Smith for Senate Majority Leader. For the first time in 43 years, Democrats have a 32-30 majority in the New York Senate, but Diaz and three other Democrats are threatening to support the Republican because they oppose the Democrats plan to bring a vote in favor of gay marriage. Diaz is a Pentecostal minister. For a different take on religion and anti-gay politics, read the New York Times' weekend article on how the LDS "tipped the scale" in favor of Prop 8.
One surprise bonus of Saturday's rallies: In Las Vegas, actress and comedian Wanda Sykes came out, because she's angry. Late, but great. It turns out that she and her wife were married on October 25, but unlike Melissa & Tammy, or Ellen & Portia, or George & Brad, they hid it. On Prop 8, seventy-four percent of black women voted against gay marriage. (Overall, the black vote was only thirty percent for marriage equality.) In part that's because gay rights is perceived as a white issue, a mistake exacerbated by the lack of visibility of lgbt people of color. The media is certainly to blame; perhaps the DL is also. Wednesday's and Saturday's demonstrations in Manhattan were overwhelming white, so photos and newsclips perpetuate the misconception. I hope the demonstrations in your area were more diverse.
You think you want to spend an hour and a half with Daniel Craig and Judi Dench, but everything that Casino Royale was, Quantum of Solace isn't. The movie has all the depth of a car commercial, minus the happiness. The whole thing is so rushed and panting (and vengeful), the characters never have time to enjoy the habitual Bond luxuries and hotness, nor does the audience. Terrible story, limp villain, so-so locations, no Moneypenny, zero gadgetry, and less wit.
Instead, go see Role Models (even with its lame f-slurs and brief, wrong-headed discussion of "gay"). It's very funny and all the lead actors are really great: Adorable crank Paul Rudd, happy go buffly Sean William Scott (braver than the newly prudish Bond and not afraid to show off his full backside naked), McLovin, "the black kid," and a truly awesome Jane Lynch.
When was the first gay journal published? Congratulations if you said 112 years ago, in 1896. That's when a giant of gay history, Adolf Brand, at twenty-two started Der Eigene in Berlin. Originally cloaked as a journal of "male culture," its content became exclusively gay culture within two years. In 1900, Brand published Elisar von Kupffer's landmark anthology of gay poems, Lieblingminne und Freundesliebe In der Weltliteratur, from Ancient Greece and Rome, Renaissance Italy, Elizabethan England, 19th century Germany, and Arab and Japanese texts. Needless to say, Brand and his colleagues were constantly harassed and frequently prosecuted for their articles and photography, sometimes nude, but he never backed down. Indeed, the first of his three prison sentences was for having attacked a member of parliament with a dog whip. His second prison term, eighteen months, was for libel, after reporting the affair between the German chancellor Prince von Bülow and the Privy Councilor Max Scheefer. His third prison term was two months, after he was convicted of violating Paragraph 175 for printing "lewd writings" in Der Eigene. The journal lasted thirty-six years. (Compare with ONE, nineteen years; The Ladder, sixteen years; or 10 Percent magazine, four years.) His life's work destroyed and left in financial ruin, Brand gave up his activism in the 1930s. He spent two years in the German army and married a nurse, Elise Behrendt, who knew he was gay. He and Elise were killed together on February 2, 1945 when an Allied bomb exploded their home.