Grammys 2014: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Royals for a Night

Grammys 2014: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Royals for a Night

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, the Seattle duo that has spent the last year upending the rules about how hip-hop interacts with mainstream pop, won four Grammys on Sunday night, for best new artist and in three rap categories: best performance and best song for Thrift Shop and best album for The Heist.

Of all the moments that have startled awards-show viewers over the years, none matches the mass marriage on Sunday night’s Grammys. No others made anything close to this bold a statement on an issue that has been engaging so much of the world in an emotional, political and theological debate. By including same-gender couples in this ceremony, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences declared that marriage is marriage, regardless of gender.

The night’s most cathartic moment was the group marriage: Queen Latifah married 33 straight and same-sex couples during a performance of Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, along with singers Mary Lambert and iconic pop-star Madonna.

A full list of winners at the 56th annual Grammy Awards can be found in The New York Times here.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, feat. Mary Lambert: “Same Love”

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mary Lambert, Queen Latifah and Madonna: “Same Love”

The 2013 Gay Pride: Supreme Court’s Historic Rulings Support Gay Marriage

The 2013 Gay Pride: Supreme Court’s Historic Rulings Support Gay Marriage

In major victories for the human rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case on Prop 8 from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there. By clearing the way for same-sex marriage in California, the nation’s most populous state, the court effectively increased to 13 the number of states that allow it.

In the hushed courtroom Wednesday morning, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced the majority opinion that struck down the federal law in a stately tone indicating he was delivering a civil rights landmark. The vote in the case striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act was 5 to 4, and Justice Kennedy was joined by the four members of the court’s liberal wing. The ruling will immediately extend many benefits to couples married in the states that allow such unions, and it will allow the Obama administration to broaden other benefits through executive actions.

The case concerning California’s ban on same-sex marriage, enacted in a ballot initiative known as Proposition 8, was decided on technical grounds, with the majority saying that it was not properly before the court. Because officials in California had declined to appeal a trial court’s decision against them, and because the proponents of the ban were not entitled to step into the state’s shoes to appeal the decision, the court said, it was powerless to issue a decision. That left in place a trial court victory for two same-sex couples who had sought to marry.

Read more about the Supreme Court’s decisions in the New York Times here.

Read more about the Supreme Court’s Prop 8 decision in the Los Angeles Times here.

Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage Rights

Supreme Court Rulings Spur Celebrations Among Gay Marriage Supporters

Gay Pride Month: Celebrating Loving Feelings for Others

It’s the Dream Afraid of Waking,
That Never Takes a Chance
.”

Harvey Milk: You’ve Got to Give Them Hope

Before there was this year’s Academy Awards celebrated Milk, there was the widely acclaimed The Times of Harvey Milk, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature Film in 1984, and was awarded The Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, among other awards. The documentary chronicles the political career of Harvey Milk, who was San Francisco’s first openly gay elected Board Supervisor. The film, at times humorous, at times nostalgic, and at other times quite tragic, tells the story of Harvey Milk’s rise to political power and emergence as a symbol of gay political achievement.

The Times of Harvey Milk documents through assembled historic film clips the tumultuous story of Milk’s grass-roots political organizing and election, through the shocking murders and their repercussions. It takes the film’s viewers along with the eloquent candle-light memorial joined by tens of thousands of San Franciscans on the evening of the assassinations, to the scenes of angry crowds who stormed San Francisco’s City Hall in the aftermath of the lenient sentence that Dan White received at his murder trial.

This Academy Award-winning documentary feature film depicts not only Harvey Milk himself, but also the political and social milieu of the era in which he lived. From this perspective, the film continues to have significant relevance for our nation today, standing as a classic portrait of communities and cultural values in severe conflict. The film was produced subsequent to Harvey Milk’s death using archival footage, so that Milk is credited posthumously as the lead actor. Other politicians, including San Francisco’s then-mayor George Moscone (who was assassinated along with Milk) and Moscone’s successor and now United States Senator Dianne Feinstein, also appear in the archival footage. Also featured in the film is then-schoolteacher Tom Ammiano, who has been a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors since 1994, and was elected to the California State Assembly. The film’s outstanding narration is provided by the acclaimed stage and screen actor Harvey Fierstein, who at that time had just achieved great success with his own Tony Award-winning Broadway play Torch Song Trilogy.

The Times of Harvey Milk: The Full Version of the Documentary

Slide Show:The Life and Times of Harvey Milk

(Please Click on Image Above to View Slide Show)

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Bad Cars: Living with Unexpected Obstacles and Imperfect Moments

Bad Cars: Living with Unexpected Obstacles and Imperfect Moments

Bad Cars is a new short film by Anthony Deptula, the writer and star of the wonderful independent film One Too Many Mornings, which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Dating in Los Angeles is hard, especially when you have a terrible car. Bad Cars is a romantic comedy about a first date with a simple problem; neither person wants the other to see their crappy car. While there is elegant storytelling with an abundance of clever humor, there is also an honest and painful view of the loneliness and vulnerabilities of life in a city filled with unexpected obstacles and imperfect moments.

Bad Cars: Living with Unexpected Obstacles and Imperfect Moments

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The Road to Recovery: A Rescue Puppy Learns to Trust Again

The Road to Recovery: A Rescue Puppy Learns to Trust Again

Road to Recovery is a heartwarming short film about a puppy who wouldn’t let anyone near her, learning to trust humans again. The film captures the moment when a rescue puppy so terrified of people she would snarl and snap at anyone who came near her, finally learns to trust again.

Janie came in to a Los Angeles animal shelter with a broken back after being hit by a car, and was so frightened of people touching her that she had to be sedated before a vet could take a look at her. Most puppies like Janie are euthanized, because shelters simply do not have the funding and resources to care for them. But Janie was given a second chance by a dog rescue organization determined to give her a second chance.

The Bill Foundation, named after founders Jo and Peter Forman’s first rescue pup, paid for Janie’s spinal surgery and set to work helping Janie trust humans again.

The Road to Recovery: A Rescue Puppy Learns to Trust Again

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The Maker: The Preciousness of Life and Love

The Maker: The Preciousness of Life and Love

The Maker is an acclaimed stop-motion animated short film directed by Christopher Kezelos, which is a finalist in The Wrap’s 2012 Short Films Festival, a new festival presenting 12 award-winning short films selected from this year’s top international film festivals. The Maker has previously screened and wan major film awards at The 2011 Rhode Island International Film Festival, Grand Prize; The 2012 Newport Beach Film Festival, Best Animated Short; The 2012 Sydney Film Festival, Best Animated Short; The 2012 Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival, Grand Prize; The 2012 Indianapolis Film Fest, Best Short Film; and The 2012 CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival, Best Animated Short.

The Maker is set in a dimly lit fantasy world where a strange rabbit-like creature races against time, as he attempts to make the most important and beautiful creation of his life. Director Kezelos describes the film as an exploration of “the preciousness of our moments on earth, the short time we have with loved ones and the enjoyment of ones life’s work and purpose. In their fleeting existence our characters experience joy, love, hard work, purpose, loss and loneliness.”

The Maker: The Preciousness of Life and Love

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Gay Pride Month: Celebrating Loving Feelings for Others

Gay Pride Month: Celebrating Loving Feelings for Others

It’s the Dream Afraid of Waking,
That Never Takes a Chance
.”

On What We Need: First Day of My Life

For all of us, there are genuine needs and wishes, deep longings for human warmth, empathic responsiveness, trust, mutual recognition and creative playfulness. These are many of the ingredients that we think of when we speak of love, or the loving feelings we have for the cherished other person.

Of such feelings about a beloved, one might quietly reflect that, “I’m so glad I didn’t die before I met you.”

Bright Eyes: First Day of My Life

The Times of Harvey Milk: A Documentary Portrait

Before there was this year’s Academy Awards celebrated Milk, there was the widely acclaimed The Times of Harvey Milk, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature Film in 1984, and was awarded The Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, among other awards. The documentary chronicles the political career of Harvey Milk, who was San Francisco’s first openly gay elected Board Supervisor. The film, at times humorous, at times nostalgic, and at other times quite tragic, tells the story of Harvey Milk’s rise to political power and emergence as a symbol of gay political achievement.

The Times of Harvey Milk documents through assembled historic film clips the tumultuous story of Milk’s grass-roots political organizing and election, through the shocking murders and their repercussions. It takes the film’s viewers along with the eloquent candle-light memorial joined by tens of thousands of San Franciscans on the evening of the assassinations, to the scenes of angry crowds who stormed San Francisco’s City Hall in the aftermath of the lenient sentence that Dan White received at his murder trial.

This Academy Award-winning documentary feature film depicts not only Harvey Milk himself, but also the political and social milieu of the era in which he lived. From this perspective, the film continues to have significant relevance for our nation today, standing as a classic portrait of communities and cultural values in severe conflict. The film was produced subsequent to Harvey Milk’s death using archival footage, so that Milk is credited posthumously as the lead actor. Other politicians, including San Francisco’s then-mayor George Moscone (who was assassinated along with Milk) and Moscone’s successor and now United States Senator Dianne Feinstein, also appear in the archival footage. Also featured in the film is then-schoolteacher Tom Ammiano, who has been a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors since 1994, and was elected to the California State Assembly. The film’s outstanding narration is provided by the acclaimed stage and screen actor Harvey Fierstein, who at that time had just achieved great success with his own Tony Award-winning Broadway play Torch Song Trilogy.

The Times of Harvey Milk: The Full Version of the Documentary

Slide Show:The Life and Times of Harvey Milk

(Please Click on Image Above to View Slide Show)

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Limbo: A Story from the Hearts and Mouths of Undocumented Young People

Limbo: A Story from the Hearts and Mouths of Undocumented Young People

Limbo is the new documentary short film directed by Eliot Rausch, created in association with Phos Pictures, which had its World Premier in New York City earlier this week. Previously, Rausch won the Best Documentary Award and the Grand Prize at the 2010 Vimeo Festival + Awards, for his short film Last Minutes with Oden. After winning the 25K Grand Prize Grant from the Vimeo Awards, Director Eliot Rausch partnered with Producer Mark Schwartz and the Dreamers of Los Angeles to create Limbo.

The emotionally moving 19-minute documentary short film exposes the lives of three undocumented students, who are living in Los Angeles without legal status. Without ever before having touched a camera, the students were gifted with a small video camera and provided with a half-day of training. They were asked to film everyday for three months. Through their lens, this is a story from the hearts and mouths of the undocumented.

Limbo: A Story from the Hearts and Mouths of Undocumented Young People

From Last Minutes with Oden to Limbo

Rausch won the Grand Prize at the first Vimeo Festival + Awards, held in late 2010, for his documentary short film Last Minutes with Oden. The film documents ex-convict Jason Wood’s emotions as he must euthanize his beloved dog, Oden, who had been suffering from cancer. Oden is a poignant, deeply touching chronicle of love between human and pet, which has been viewed on Vimeo more than 2.5 million times.

After winning the award, Rausch said that he began to feel guilty. “I think the project was exploiting the life of a friend and his suffering,” he said. So, in the months that followed, Rausch came up with the idea to use his $25,000 Grand Prize money to create a film that might empower his subjects, rather than simply chronicling their struggles.

From Last Minutes with Oden to Limbo

Update:

Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children will be able to obtain work permits and be safe from deportation under a new policy announced on Friday by the Obama administration.

Read President Obama’s announcement in the White House Rose Garden on Friday afternoon here.

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