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Ellen DeGeneres to be honored by Hollywood Foreign Press

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Ellen DeGeneres (Image courtesy HFPA)

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) announced on November 4 Ellen DeGeneres will receive the Carol Burnett Award at the next Golden Globe Awards.

DeGeneres, a three-time Golden Globe nominee, is the second recipient to be honored with the accolade (the first was Carol Burnett herself) and will accept the honor at the annual Golden Globes presentation on Sunday, January 5, 2020. The ceremony will air live coast-to-coast on NBC.

Lorenzo Soria, President of the HFPA, said, “The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is delighted to honor Ellen DeGeneres with the Carol Burnett Award. From her sitcoms, to stand-up, to becoming a household staple on daytime television, she is a pioneer who has captivated audiences for nearly 25 years with her undeniable charm and wit. In addition to her television success, she’s an advocate and philanthropist, lending her voice to those who don’t have one, and spreading kindness and joy through the power of her platform. We look forward to celebrating her achievements at this year’s ceremony.”

According to HFPA, the Carol Burnett Award is chosen by the organization’s Board of Directors to be presented annually “to an honoree who has made outstanding contributions to the television medium on or off the screen.” As the television landscape It was established to celebrate television’s “new Golden Age,” as the landscape of the medium “continues to evolve with more thought-provoking programming, diverse roles and best in class content.” Equivalent to the Motion Picture Academy’s Cecil B. DeMille Award, the new top honor was first introduced at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

 It’s not the first time DeGeneres has been recognized with an award. Her groundbreaking sitcom “Ellen” earned her multiple Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy nominations. She received an both an Emmy and a Peabody Award in 1997 for writing the critically acclaimed “Puppy Episode,” in which her character came out as gay to a record 46 million viewers.

Her hit syndicated talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” has earned a total of 63 Daytime Emmy Awards so far. In addition, DeGeneres has won 12 Teen Choice Awards, she is a 21-time People’s Choice Awards winner, the winner of a Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and, most recently, the winner of her fourth Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite TV Host for “Ellen’s Game of Games.”

In November 2016, DeGeneres was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor – presented by President Obama.

DeGeneres is also widely known for her humanitarian efforts.

The Ellen Fund, established in 2018, supports global conservation efforts for critically endangered species. The first initiative of the fund is to build The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, with the goal of permanently securing the future of wild gorillas in Rwanda by building on successful field conservation efforts while empowering the people living near the gorillas to thrive in relationship to their ecosystem.

DeGeneres also helped raise awareness of the anti-bullying issue with a PSA titled, “Be Kind.”

Overall, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has raised over $95 million for various causes.

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Calendar

Calendar: July 19-25

LGBTQ events in the days to come

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Friday, July 19

“Center Aging Friday Tea Time” will be at 2 p.m. on Zoom. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ+ adults. Guests are encouraged to bring a beverage of choice. For more details, email [email protected].

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Community Happy Hour” at 7 p.m. at Puro Gusto. This event is ideal for making new friends, professional networking, idea-sharing, and community building. This event is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Saturday, July 20

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Community Brunch” at 11 a.m. at Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant. This fun weekly event brings the DMV area LGBTQ+ community, including allies, together for delicious food and conversation. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

“LGBTQ People of Color Support Group” will be at 1 p.m. on Zoom. This peer support group is an outlet for LGBTQ People of Color to come together and talk about anything affecting them in a space that strives to be safe and judgment free. For more details, visit thedccenter.org/poc or facebook.com/centerpoc.

Sunday, July 21

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Dinner” at 6:30 p.m. at Federico Ristorante Italiano Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant. Guests are encouraged to come enjoy an evening of Italian-style dining and conversation with other LGBTQ+ folk. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

Go Gay DC will host “LGBTQ+ Funday Social and Games” at 3 p.m. at Moxy. This event is ideal for making meaningful new connections and informal community building, or just to unwind and enjoy the group happy hour. There will be Monopoly, chess, checkers, Jenga and many other games. Attendance is free and more details are available on Eventbrite.

AfroCode DC will be at 4 p.m. at Decades DC. This event will be an experience of non-stop music, dancing, and good vibes and a crossover of genres and a fusion of cultures. Tickets cost $40 and can be purchased on Eventbrite.

Monday, July 22

Center Aging: Monday Coffee & Conversation will be at 10 a.m. on Zoom. This is a social hour for older LGBTQ adults. Guests are encouraged to bring a beverage of their choice. For more details, email [email protected].

“Queer Book Club” will be at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. The club meets on the fourth Monday of the month to discuss queer books by queer authors. This month’s read is yet to be announced. For more details, email [email protected].

Tuesday, July 23

Pride on the Patio Events will host “LGBTQ Social Mixer” at 5:30 p.m. at Showroom. Dress is casual, fancy, or comfortable. Guests are encouraged to bring their most authentic self to chat, laugh, and get a little crazy. Admission is free and more details are on Eventbrite.

Coming Out Discussion Group will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a peer-facilitated discussion group and a safe space to share experiences about coming out and discuss topics as it relates to doing so. For more details, visit the group’s Facebook page.

“Genderqueer DC” will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a support group for people who identify outside of the gender binary, whether you’re bigender, agender, genderfluid, or just know that you’re not 100% cis. For more details, email [email protected].

Wednesday, July 24

Job Club will be at 6 p.m. on Zoom. This is a weekly job support program to help job entrants and seekers, including the long-term unemployed, improve self-confidence, motivation, resilience and productivity for effective job searches and networking — allowing participants to move away from being merely “applicants” toward being “candidates.” For more information, email [email protected] or visit thedccenter.org/careers.

“Asexual and Aromantic Group” will meet at 7 p.m. on Zoom and in person at the DC Center for the LGBT Community. This is a space where people who are questioning this aspect of their identity or those who identify as asexual and/or aromantic can come together, share stories and experiences, and discuss various topics. For more details, email [email protected].

Thursday, July 25

Virtual Yoga with Charles M. will be at 7 p.m. on Zoom. This is a free weekly class focusing on yoga, breath work, and meditation. For more details, visit the DC Center for the LGBT Community’s website.

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Theater

Actor overcomes car accidents to thrive in ‘Beautiful’

Bobby Smith on the infectious happiness of Olney production

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Bobby Smith in ‘Beautiful.’ (Photo courtesy of Teresa Castracane Photography)

‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’
Through July 25
Olney Theatre Center
2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, MD 20832
$31 -101
Olneytheatre.org

As Bobby Smith describes it, “not too long ago, some things tripped me up.”

In late 2023, the celebrated, out actor was involved in two very serious car accidents and suffered severe injuries. And then May brought the unexpected death of his beloved Vizsla hound Mabel, named for the heroine in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance.”

So, for much of 2024, Smith had been spending time healing at his farmhouse in Ellicott City, Md. Until now. Currently, he’s back on the boards at Olney Theatre Center playing record producer Don Kirshner in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” a fun juke box musical about the early career years of singer/songwriter King from her Brooklyn roots to writing hits from an office in Times Square with her lyricist husband Gerry Goffin and on to Los Angeles solo-stardom.

WASHINGTON BLADE: Hey Bobby, you’ve been through a lot since we last spoke.

BOBBY SMITH: It’s been a whole lot. I spent the last seven or eight months either at home or going to doctor visits.

BLADE: How is it being back on stage?

SMITH: To be honest, it’s like learning to walk again.

BLADE: And playing the famously deadpan Don Kirshner?

SMITH: It’s good. I don’t do an imitation. Instead, I’ve created a character who’s not over the top; otherwise, it would become the Don Kirshner show and we don’t want that.

But because there’s not a lot of drama with Carole King, she’s a really kind, nice person, Don serves as a sort of catalyst. He pushes the story forward. He prods Carole to write more songs, to try different things. He doesn’t like her boyfriend.  Don the character doesn’t sing much but he’s always barking at people.

BLADE: Sometimes you forget just how many familiar songs King wrote: “Take Good Care of My Baby,” “Up On the Roof,” and “Will You (Still) Love Me Tomorrow” for acts like the Shirelles and The Drifters. And later songs like “It’s Too Late,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman,” and of course “Beautiful.”  

SMITH: Yeah, it feels like she wrote every song known to mankind; the show tells you that, and we sing most of them.

BLADE: You experienced a highpoint during the rough times. In May, you won a Helen Hayes Award for playing Bruce, the complicated, manic depressive, closeted father in Studio’s production of Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home.”

SMITH: I did, but unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to the ceremony.

Bruce is a sympathetic but difficult character. Ever since being born, people of a certain age, have had to fight our way into the struggle of being gay. It’s not so much a struggle anymore, or I should say not as much as it used to be, but now there are a whole lot more signposts that didn’t exist when I was growing up.

Over the years, people have randomly attacked me for not talking more about my sexuality. I’m not closeted but I don’t feel I have to tell everyone. I don’t share it with my land lady. I don’t need to say “I’m here and I’m queer. Here’s your rent.”

BLADE: You have been in show biz for decades now. What keeps you going?

SMITH: I’m not sure, sometimes I ask myself what was I thinking when I decided to be a professional actor? I feel like I’m making a bigger contribution teaching at Catholic University than I did my entire acting career.

Now that I’ve taken over the tap department, I’m full time at Catholic. I’m also teaching Acting the Text, Directing for Musical Theatre, and in the fall, I’ll add Musical Interpretation.

BLADE: In this summer of so many theatrical choices, why see “Beautiful”?

SMITH: Well, if you don’t already know Natalie Weiss who plays Carole, you should. She’s an amazing compelling, vocalist with one of the healthiest singing voices you’ll ever hear, no straining, perfect placement. 

Also, there’s nothing about “Beautiful” that’s going to make you feel bad, or put you in a place where you might think you need to talk to your therapist. That’s not going to happen. And it’s because Carole King is a positive human being; from an actor’s perspective, you feel great by the end of the show, and the audience gets that. The happiness is infectious.

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Television

Emmy nominations honor queer creators and shows

RuPaul among LGBTQ nominees

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(Public domain photo)

The Television Academy has honored dozens of queer creators and queer-themed TV shows in the nominations for the 76th annual Emmy Awards, announced Tuesday in a broadcast hosted by actors Tony Hale and Sheryl Lee Ralph.

Sheryl Lee Ralph and Tony Hale, along with Academy Chair Cris Abrego, announced the nominees for the 76th Emmy Awards on July 17, 2024. (Photo courtesy of Emmys.com)

The winners will be announced at the Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 15.

Queer-themed shows like Netflix’s “Ripley” and “Baby Reindeer” and FX’s “Feud: Capote vs. the Swans” scored nominations across 13, 12, and 10 categories respectively.

“Ripley,” based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel “The Talented Mr. Ripley” about a queer con man, scored a nomination for outstanding limited or anthology series, as well as acting nominations for gay actor Andrew Scott in the title role and Dakota Fanning for supporting actress. It also received nominations for writing, directing, cinematography, special visual effects, sound editing and mixing, picture editing, costumes, casting, and production design.

“Baby Reindeer,” a limited series based on bisexual writer-actor Richard Gadd’s autobiographical one-man show about his experiences being stalked, earned Gadd nominations for writing and his lead performance, as well as acting nominations for lesbian actress Jess Gunning and transgender actress Nava Mau for their supporting roles. The show also picked up nominations for outstanding limited or anthology series, directing, casting, costumes, picture editing, and music supervision.

Ryan Murphy’s latest “Feud” anthology, focusing on an episode in the life of gay writer Truman Capote, earned acting nominations for Tom Hollander, Naomi Watts, Treat Williams, and Diane Lane, and a directing nomination for gay director Gus Van Sant. It also earned nominations for casting, costumes, hairstyling, makeup, and main title music.

Once again, RuPaul cleaned up in the reality categories, with MTV’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race” earning nominations for outstanding reality competition series, production design, casting, choreography, directing, picture editing, and sound mixing. RuPaul also earned a nomination for outstanding reality competition host — if he wins, he’ll extend his record eight consecutive wins in the category.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked” also earned nominations for outstanding unstructured reality program and picture editing. “Untucked” will be up against Netflix’s “Queer Eye” in both categories.

Other queer reality shows earning nominations include HBO’s “We’re Here” and Shudder’s “Boulet Brothers: Dragula,” each with nods in the hairstyling and makeup categories.

Showcase’s epic gay romance “Fellow Travelers” earned acting nominations for out actors Matt Bomer and Jonathan Bailey and a writing nomination for gay writer Ron Nyswaner.

Lesbian actress Jodie Foster earned her first Emmy nomination for her lead role on HBO’s “True Detective: Night Country,” which picked up a total of 19 nominations.

Queer actress Ayo Edibiri will be defending her win earlier this year for outstanding lead actress in a comedy with a nomination for her work in the second season of FX’s “The Bear,” which broke a record for a comedy with 23 nominations this year.

Lesbian actress Holland Taylor earned a nomination for her supporting role on Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show.” The show also earned Reese Witherspoon her second nomination for playing bisexual reporter Bradley Jackson. Altogether, “The Morning Show” has 16 nominations this year.

Bisexual actress Hannah Einbinder earned her third nomination for her supporting role on HBO’s “Hacks,” which earned a total of 16 nominations this year.

“Saturday Night Live’s” Bowen Yang got his third nomination for supporting actor in a comedy series. Altogether, the long-running sketch show has 17 nominations this year.

Out comedian John Early got a writing nomination for his HBO special, “John Early: Now More Than Ever,” while HBO’s “The Other Two,” which ended its three-season run last June, earned its first Emmy nomination, for writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider.

To be eligible for nomination for the 2024 Emmys, television shows must have been released between June 1, 2023, and May 31, 2024. The awards show will take place Sept. 15 at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles and be broadcast on ABC.

Click here for a complete list of nominees.

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