Patrick Range McDonald’s profile of publicist-to-the-gay-stars Howard Bragman (“The Secret Lives of Queer Leading Men,” Oct. 8) generated a flurry of commentary, most of it modulated. “A tough subject handled with sensitivity and frankness,” wrote Miki Jackson from Los Angeles. “I have been around for quite a while and can attest to how hard it is to talk about this in the ’hood.”
But a writer signing him- or herself KNOWITALL7 forgot the modulator, not to mention the shift release on the keyboard: “I DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHO IS GAY OR LESBIAN. WATCHING A MOVIE LOVE SCENE, WHEN YOU KNOW THEY ARE GAY/LESBIAN, RUINS THE WHOLE THING. ALL YOU CAN THINK OF IS HIM SUCKING … AND HER LICKING. …”
Well, it gets a lot more interesting but isn’t fit to print in a family newspaper like L.A. Weekly. You know.
Lisa from New Jersey counters with a little logic: “An actor is supposedly praised because he is convincing in a role that is different from who he is in life. So, what could be a better display of acting talent, then, than a gay person convincing audiences that he is romantically interested in a member of the opposite sex?”
Yet Essie from Cincinnatti remains unconvinced that we need to know. “It’s easy for people to say, ‘Come out, come out,’ but these people have mortgages and car payments and perhaps they are taking care of their parents and siblings,” she writes. “They can’t afford to lose money. Perhaps I’m naive but I just don’t think it’s all that important for someone to announce his or her sexual orientation to the world, and personally, I don’t care!!!” (Note to Essie: Fewer than four exclamation points means you care a little.)
A number of readers insist that things have (mostly) changed. They don’t, however, agree where things have changed.
David Ehrenstein avers that “Despite any number of stragglers, the closet is collapsing. Not just in Hollywood. Everywhere.”
But Kristin thinks that “Hollywood is completely out of touch with reality. They don’t like openly gay/lesbian actors. They don’t like openly conservative actors. They don’t like openly Christian actors. They don’t like nonwhite actors. The funny thing is that most Americans are probably more accepting and tolerant than Hollywood.”
Indeed, suggests Peter from Los Angeles, “It would be interesting to see if any studies could be done on the true perception of the audience. It’s fascinating, for example, that [American Idol runner-up] Adam Lambert now has women throwing their panties at him onstage after he’s come out officially. I believe many women ‘get it’ that they’ll never sleep with that star or celebrity whether he’s straight or not, but have fun playing the game. Straight men, however, might have a harder time accepting a gay man as romantic straight lead. On the other hand, younger straight men now, to a large degree, don’t seem to care who you sleep with. They’re even open to the idea of having a gay fling or even romance. So, a lot of Hollywood’s perceptions are dated as far as the younger demographic goes (which is ironic, considering that’s their target market).”
In the Department of More Specific Responses, Jeff from Studio City gets the best jab in, taking Bragman to task for accepting as a client San Diego hotelier Doug Manchester, who gave $125,000 to the anti–gay marriage Proposition 8 and subsequently sought Bragman’s help to reach out to the gay community. “Mr. Bragman has betrayed himself, his spouse and every LBGT citizen in California, if not the world. His embrace of Mr. Manchester proves that there may be a shortage of out gay men in Hollywood, but the supply of prostitutes remains ample.”
And speaking of LBGTs, a couple of readers took McDonald and the Weekly to task for its transgender pronouns. “I’m enjoying this article,” wrote one, “but it could do a little better with regard to trans folks — using proper pronouns is really important, and it’s really invalidating to see the article referring to Chaz Bono with “woman” where the word ‘person’ would do. Same goes for using ‘she’ instead of ‘he’ and Chastity instead of Chaz.”
Like Chastity/Chaz, we’re in the middle on this one. So we’ll give the last two words to Nobody from L.A., who wrote, simply: “Tom Cruise.”
Philip Anschutz in the Sky With Diamonds
“Another amazing story about corruption and an impotent citizenry want of energy and action!” The story in question is Tibby Rothman’s look (“Los Angeles Corporate Welfare: Ritz-Carlton and AEG,” Oct. 8) at the city’s halves and have-nots. Rothman underscored the massive tax breaks bestowed upon the Ritz-Carlton project at L.A. Live and its developer, AEG, the company headed by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz.
The commenter, Concerned82nd, goes on to say, “I really hand it to the writers of L.A. Weekly for bringing these shady stories to light but I wonder, with each story, when will the citizens of Los Angeles stand up?”
Also congratulating Rothman is the antibillboard activist Dennis Hathaway, for “shining a light on what surely ought to be regarded as a scandal — the use of public money to enrich private interests downtown while many local neighborhoods suffer from blight, crumbling infrastructure and lack of economic development. What this excellent article didn’t mention was the money companies like AEG and others getting CRA subsidies spend lobbying the city council and other city agencies. For example, at the time the city council decided to hand AEG another plum — the rights to billboards on the facade of the convention center — the company had paid nearly $500,000 to lobbying firms over the past 18 months.”
Due to an editing error in last week’s music section, we misidentified the image accompanying Kristine McKenna’s feature on Geoff Muldaur. The photo was of songwriter Stephen Bruton. A corrected version is online at laweekly.com.
NOTE: L.A. Weekly welcomes letters to the editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) and comments online. We encourage writers to give us their full names, just as we give you ours.