This CBGB Movie Looks Kind Of Ridiculous (But You’ll Probably See It Anyway)

So the poster for CBGB, Randal Miller’s upcoming cinematic take on the legendary club and its owner, Hilly Kristal, was released today, prompting another NYC cultural institution to declare: "If you’re the type of cynical punk asshole who thinks the movie about CBGB can’t be anything but terrible, well GOOD NEWS, the movie’s poster essentially proves you right." The whole thing has a very Rock of Ages-meets-Purim Carnival feel about it (Paste‘s Bonnie Stiernberg compared it to the "rock and roll" section of a Party City catalog, A+), and even with Alan Rickman, who can do no wrong, the whole thing just seems, well, ridiclous. The poses! Oh, the poses! At least the captions for Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop are things the two of them really said. 

There’s the Justin Bartha crotch-grab, which actually does look like he’s auditioning for Rock of Ages or maybe some boy band. Joel David Moore’s Joey Ramone has this weird Very Mary-Kate thing going on. And not pictured is Johnny Galecki, who although is playing someone on the business side, dude was in The Big Bang Theory, and if there’s one thing that is not punk rock at all, it’s CBS. Rupert Grint really does kind of look like Cheetah Chrome, though. Regardless, even if this movie is as lulzy as the poster makes it seem like it will be, you’ll probably see it out of some morbid curiosity or just to hear some jams. Or maybe it will capture the sort of irreverence and goofiness that existed in the club’s spirit. Whatever. It’s your call. 

If you want to see some awesomeness happening at the real CBGB, here’s Talking Heads performing "Psycho Killer" there in 1975. Enjoy. Happy Friday.

GLAAD Hosts Gigantic Ad For ‘The New Normal’ Disguised as an “Infographic”

I’ve never been too keen on the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, otherwise known as GLAAD. I’m all for people who are also against defaming gays and lesbians, but I never found several of their initiatives, particularly those in the entertainment sector, to be very positive for the gay community. Take, for example, The GLAAD Media Awards, which generally laud celebrities, news outlets, TV shows, and films for doing the very least to portray people of the LGBT community in any positive light—mostly by simply marketing to them. I’ve always found it to be a bit pandering! And, not surprisingly, the organization seems to have thrown all of their support behind Ryan Murphy’s new NBC sitcom, The New Normal.

I watched the pilot for The New Normal. Now, I know, generally, pilots are not too representative of a television show. But the pilot for The New Normal was not good. It was full of easy laughs, excruciatingly calculated heart-warming moments, and a generally shitty outlook—it’s full of racist humor and downright mean, which is not particularly becoming for a show that makes a point to show the positives of a same-sex couple raising a child. So why is GLAAD, an organization the purports the positive depiction of LGBT community members, devote an entire page of its site to the show in what is basically a massive advertisement?  

The short answer, I assume, is "money". But let’s focus more on what the site intends to do. It lists three examples of same-sex couples who are successfully raising their children. See? These couples are The New Normal! Just like the show! They do not, of course, feature group shots of their families large enough to include their homophobic and racist family members (like the cast photo that features Ellen Barkin’s character) or with their African-American employee (in The New Normal‘s case, played by Real Housewives of Atlanta provocateur Nene Leakes). Nor is there any sense that these same-sex couplings are restricted to somewhat sexist and heteronormative gender norms as in the show, in which Justin Bartha (who is straight in real life) plays the masculine one of the pair, which Andrew Rannells (who is gay in real life) plays the queeny one. 

Additionally, GLAAD hosts an infographic claiming, despite the suggestion of homophobic group One Million Moms, that American TV has a long history of featuring same-sex parents. Forty years worth of history, in fact! Sure, of its fifteen examples, eleven of them are from the last twenty years. One example, from 1987, is a pair of secondary characters from a recurring sketch on The Tracy Ullman Show. Another, from 1977, is Billy Crystal’s character from Soap—the first series regular who was a homosexual—who impregnates a woman on a one-night stand. And there’s the suggestion that American Dad is forging the concept of same-sex parenting, because Seth MacFarlane is clearly a bastion of tolerance, respect, and equality.

So, what gives? Is GLAAD suggesting that we should just settle for a show that preaches intolerance for humor’s sake as much as it delivers self-congratulatory respect for non-traditional families? Or is GLAAD’s support of the show (which you can see in full below) just another example of it giving attention to another series that probably doesn’t do much for the LGBT community other than perpetuate the same lame stereotypes we’ve seen on television for years? After all, wouldn’t it be a lot edgier to portray a same-sex couple in a sitcom with a little less levity?

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Pain-In-The-Ass Bigots Harassing NBC Over Gay Comedy

One Million Moms, the very noisy group of bigots that only wishes it numbered one million people strong, is threatening to boycott NBC’s advertisers over the upcoming fall comedy, The New Normal. The show will star Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannels as a gay couple who try to start a family via a surrogate; its creators and executive producers are Ryan Murphy and Allison Alder, who are both openly gay. Oh my God, OMM’s minds must be blown

OMM, which is a product of the anti-gay marriage group the American Family Association, has promised to target The New Normal‘s advertisers and prevent this pernicious show from infecting your TV and "desensitize American and our children" with offensiveness that is "opposite of how families are designed and created." Wah wah wah "decay of morals and values" wah wah wah "redefine marriage" wah wah wah "harmful to our society" wah wah wah.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation dismissed the bigots’ revulsion to show, which premieres on  September 11, and sniffed that the group was "doing its best to stir controversy where there is none."

In other news: Justin Bartha had better take his shirt off on The New Normal or I will be launching a boycott of my own.

Morning Links: More Kardashians Ready to Date, Scarlett Johansson Flirts With Ashley Olsen’s Ex

● When things got dicey between Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, Jen’s mother did what any reasonable mother would do and e-mailed Ben Affleck for advice. Mom’s love Ben Affleck. [Us] ● Ear pressed against Yankee Stadium, a New York Times music critic hears a symphony. [NYT] ● There are two new Kardashians on the market! Kendall and Kylie, 15 and 13 years-old, are ready to date. “I guess we’re allowed to date, but we have to find a good guy, I guess,” they said, sounding less than excited. [E!]

● Kim Kardashian is suing Old Navy for using a model that looks a little too much like her in an ad campaign. There’s only room for one curvy brunette on the television these days, and Kim got there first. [NYDN] ● Scarlett Johansson was “engrossed” by Ashley Olsen’s ex, Justin Bartha. “It looked sometimes flirty, but also they seemed to be involved in a deep discussion,” said the source. Flirty and deep, just like their love. [PageSix] ● “I’ve been hiding this secret inside me for too long,” announced Zach Braff’s website yesterday after hackers broke in and posted a fake “coming out” note. Braff denied the statement’s truth on Facebook, saying that he loves his girlfriend at least as much as he loves musicals, brunch and Doogie Howser. [TMZ]

Living the High Life: Justin Bartha in Holy Rollers

At seventeen, Justin Bartha moved to New York City from the Midwest to attend acting school. Who knew, that several years later, he’d be dating an Olsen. We’re only kidding, of course. Bartha has a far bigger accomplishment than dating Ashley, namely, being in movies. Some of them you love (The Hangover), and some of them help Nicolas Cage avoid bankruptcy (National Treasure). Bartha’s latest is the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it indie Holy Rollers, a cautionary tale Hasidic drug smugglers in Brooklyn. Bartha plays Yosef Zimmerman, who uses young boys from an Orthodox Jewish community to help him transport ecstasy. He employs a new recruit named Sam (played by Bartha’s good friend Jesse Eisenberg), who’s taken on a dark drug-fueled journey that makes him question the Big Four: life, love, faith and himself. Here is the actor on the making of Holy Rollers and his favorite Jewish deli In New York.

How would you describe your character in Holy Rollers? He’s the nasty neighbor and the wayward son. Yosef grew up in a broken home in a Hasidic community in Brooklyn. He got involved with a fast lifestyle very early on and he’s lost himself, almost completely. He’s given up on himself and has found a new family in this club and drug culture. Yosef’s job is to recruit other young Hasidic men and women to do the same as him.

What attracted you to this part? Jesse sent me the script a long time ago. We had been looking for a while to work on something together. I used to live above a Hasidic family in Los Angeles for a couple of years. They fascinated me. Their son was a troubled kid and their fights would keep me awake at night. When I read the script, I immediately thought of that. Jesse and I really got the chance to help develop this project and work on it together very closely, fleshing out the characters.

Did you do any research within the Hasidic communities in Brooklyn? We would go into Williamsburg and Borough Park and observe the people. At one point, Jesse was invited to a school.

Your character Yosef says, “Jews have been smuggling for thousands of years.” Do you think that helps justify his drug smuggling in his own mind? I think it’s something that Yosef says to sell what he is trying to sell. At one point, it probably did justify what he was doing. Every culture has smuggled something in and out of their country for thousands of years, so it doesn’t really mean anything.

Do you think Yosef sees a bit of himself in Sam when he first meets him? Our intent was always to try to make a character-centered film as a throw back to those ‘70s American films that had two male characters that fed off of each other.

When I was watching the film I thought of Midnight Cowboy. Absolutely, Midnight Cowboy and Mean Streets. The development of both characters very much played off each other. When I would look at what happened to Yosef I would always incorporate what I thought was going happen to Sam. What he went through, what their similarities were, who Sam is compared to Yosef, and just to connect them as much as possible. These people should seem real, and after we watch the movie we should actually think what is going to happen to them.

Any favorite restaurants you frequent in New York City? I like Murray’s Bagels. I probably go there more than anywhere else.

Are there any Jewish delis in New York City that you can recommend? My favorite deli is Katz’s on the Lower East Side.

Holy Rollers seems like a very personal project for you. My goal is to always try to do movies like Holy Rollers. I find them personally entertaining and self-gratifying because they’re a challenge. For me, it’s just about trying to continue to move forward, do different things and challenge myself.

What do you want people to walk away with after watching this movie? I want them to think about faith versus blind faith and to just be invested in the story. We do leave some nice opened-ended questions at the end of the movie. What will happen to these characters? If you even think about that for ten minutes, we’ve done our job.