Massachusetts Schools Unveil LGBTQ Curriculum Including Lessons on Stonewall, Gay Themes in ‘The Great Gatsby’

The Stonewall Inn by David Jones (CC BY 2.0)

Massachusetts has introduced a new, optional curriculum with LGBTQ themes in health, English, and history, in an effort to increase learning in students who will now see their lessons reflected in themselves.

The Boston Herald reports:

The curriculum, developed by a team of teachers with Massachusetts Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students and the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth, will be released this summer. It will feature lessons on the 1969 Stonewall Riots and writings by gay and lesbian authors such as Langston Hughes and Willa Cather. It will also feature lessons like how Nick Carraway’s love for Jay Gatsby may have influenced themes in “The Great Gatsby.”

“We talk about mirrors and windows,” said Jeff Perrotti, director of the Massachusetts Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students. “Students need to see themselves reflected and see others who are different from themselves. It is important that all students feel safe, valued and respected in school so they can be ready to learn.”

More at the Boston Herald

Boston high schools will be among the first to use the new curriculum

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‘Handmaid’s Tale,’ White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Monique, Leslie Odom Jr, and More TV This Week

Check out our weekly guide to TV this week, and make sure you’re catching the big premieres, crucial episodes and the stuff you won’t admit you watch when no one’s looking.

Just in case the day-to-day news isn’t bleak enough for you, Hulu’s dystopian drama The Handmaid’s Tale returns for an electric second season starting Wednesday. The Emmy Award-winning and GLAAD Media Award-nominated series will introduce another queer character this season, played by out actress Clea DuVall.

America’s sexiest cartoon detective undergoes another narrative upheaval when Archer heads to Danger Island 10 p.m. Eastern Wednesday on FXX. The series time jumps to 1930s for its action-packed ninth season.

The race is (contoured)neck-and-(contoured) neck on RuPaul’s Drag Race. The remaining nine queens continue to battle it out this week on Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern on VH1.

Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr. takes the stage for another installment of Live From Lincoln Center 9 p.m. Eastern on PBS. The outrageously talented (and handsome) performer will dazzle audiences with his renditions of standards and his million-watt smile.

Comedian Michelle Wolf surely won’t be the only clown in the room when she hostsThe White House Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday at 7 p.m. Eastern on CNN. Before taking on her own Netflix talkshow, she’ll take on the political establishment on their home turf. Of course, President Tiny Hands Thin Skin will be skipping the event, because it hurts his fee-fees.

What are you watching this week on TV?

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Trump’s VA Pick Ronny Jackson Accused of Drinking on the Job, Improperly Distributing Meds

ronny jackson obese trump

ronny jackson obese trump

Donald Trump’s pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, White House doctor Ronny Jackson, appears to be in trouble.

CBS News reports:

Sources familiar with the tales say Sen. Jon Tester’s committee staff is reviewing multiple allegations of a “hostile work environment.” The accusations include “excessive drinking on the job, improperly dispensing meds,” said one of the people familiar, who was granted anonymity to speak frankly about the situation. The other people familiar with the stories also confirmed those details.

If proven true, “it’ll sink his nomination,” said one of the sources.

Tester’s office began hearing the allegations from current and former employees in the last several days and over the weekend, said one of the people familiar with the ongoing probe.

Senators are discussing a delay for the hearing, which was scheduled for Wednesday.

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Seth Meyers on Trump’s Lies: ‘If The Feds Put Pressure on Him, There’s a Good Chance He’ll Flip on Himself’ – WATCH

michael cohen seth meyers

On his return to air after a weeklong break, Seth Meyers wondered who’s benefiting from the Trump presidency at this point, with scandals piling up all over.

For example, there’s Trump EPA chief Scott Pruitt who is under ten separate investigations for misuse of taxpayer money and possible ethics violations.

Said Meyers: “He’s under 10 different investigations. Pruitt’s under so many investigations (showing a punched-out card from a sandwich shop) he gets a six-inch sub free of charge.”

Meyers also looked at Kellyanne Conway’s tangle with CNN’s Dana Bash over the weekend over the anti-Trump tweets Conway’s husband has been lobbing out as of late.

Said Bash: “I don’t remember the last time we saw somebody working for the president in a high profile position when their spouse is saying critical things about them.”

Replied an obviously pissed-off Conway: “There are other family members of people who work at the White House who certainly don’t support the president privately and publicly.”

Quipped Meyers: “First of all (flashing photo of Melania), we know. Second of all, think about how dumb that argument is. ‘So what if my husband hates Trump. Lots of people do!’”

“Statistically speaking, anyone who gets too close to Trump has a good chance of being raided by the FBI,” Meyers continued, diving into the speculation surrounding whether Trump lawyer Michael Cohen will flip on the president.

“Think about how crazy this is,” gasped Meyers. “Michael Cohen isn’t saying Trump is innocent. He’s saying, ‘I would never rat him out.’ It’s just taken for granted that Trump did something illegal.”

Meyers then looked at Trump’s unhinged tweetstorm over the weekend, in which he insisted Cohen wouldn’t flip, but added that if Cohen did flip, he’d be lying.

Said Meyers: “Of course Trump assumes that most people lie to get out of trouble because he’s always lying to get out of trouble. If the feds put pressure on him, there’s a good chance he’ll flip on himself.”


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Christina Aguilera Gives Diva Lessons to Melissa McCarthy and James Corden in Carpool Karaoke: WATCH

Christina Aguilera carpool

Christina Aguilera carpool

Christina Aguilera joined James Corden for a new episode of Carpool Karaoke and tries to educate James on her signature growl in “Fighter” (“That’s an angsty thing, you’ve got to get your fighter on”), her time in Mickey Mouse Club with Ryan Gosling (“I think there were crushes but I wasn’t on the train”) and Justin Timberlake (“he had swag”).

Said Aguilera: “Um, I think, well there was like a—me and Britney were, you know, like… well, you know, there was like a thing back then,” she said. “Oh my god, you’re going in! It was a good time… I know Ryan actually, pretty much, he did have actually have a crush on Britney. I mean, I think so! I think so. I don’t know…”

They’re then joined by Melissa McCarthy who popped up from out of nowhere to contribute Redman’s rap on “Dirrty” before Xtina pulled a few bedazzled microphones out of the glove compartment as some props for diva lessons.

Soon it was on to “Genie in a Bottle” and “Beautiful”


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In ‘Transfers,’ a Shot at Privilege Means Reckoning with Stacked Odds: REVIEW

transfers play

What do you call a second chance when you never had a first?

For two young men at the heart of Transfers, Lucy Thurber’s resonant and thought-provoking new play that opened off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre last night, a special scholarship to a prestigious liberal arts college comes to feel like the only shot they have left. In a finely calibrated production directed by Jackson Gay for MCC, Thurber’s play sheds welcome light on the roots of systemic inequality through the lens of distinctly individual human dramas.

It’s a snowy evening at a small New England motel, where David (Glenn Davis) is prepping two candidates for morning interviews with the scholarship committee at a nearby elite school. David works for Democracy Now, a private foundation where his gig is recruiting students from underprivileged backgrounds gain the sort of access that’s otherwise beyond their reach.

Clarence (Ato Blankson-Wood) and Christofer (Juan Castano) go to the same community college. They grew up across the street from each other in the Bronx, where their acquaintance was tenuous; Christofer is a mouthy star wrestler, raised by his grandmother, Clarence, more bookish and buttoned-up, went to live with his aunt in Brooklyn after falling in with the wrong crowd — and coming out as gay in a neighborhood where being queer is anathema.

Of the two, Clarence is the very image of a model minority, while the freewheeling Christofer, who feels obliged to tell David that Clarence is “super into sucking dick and shit, like for real” — since the three of them are sharing one room and all — often masks his best intentions behind a disregard for respectability politics.

After a revealing and emotional night in their company, we see each of their interviews the following morning and ultimately listen in on the committee’s decision within the play’s 100 minutes. Gay’s staging unfolds seamlessly on Donyale Werle’s versatile set, which transforms into a handful of different rooms with slight, swift alterations.

Schematically, Thurber’s nimbly assembled play echoes the application process, while allowing us personal insight into the people who make up the system — from advocates and deciders to the students whose lives might be forever changed by a single opportunity doled out of the course of an afternoon. In dramatizing what may otherwise seem to come down to test scores, report cards, and quotas on the page, Thurber shows how slippery first impressions — and assumptions based on appearance — can be.

This is particularly true of the play’s standout scene and emotional high point, Christofer’s sit-down with Rose (the school’s rugby coach played by Samantha Soule), which starts out terribly (“You’re kinda acting like a jerk,” she tells him point blank). As the interview lurches forward, they’re revealed to be more alike than anyone might have guessed — in a scene that feels disarmingly frank rather than pat like an after-school special.

When Geoffrey (Leon Addison Brown), the literature professor who interviews Clarence, asks what set him in motion, Clarence confesses that he’s gay. “That’s not — my eyes or my mouth or my mind — but it is the thing, the thing that set me in motion. Where I come from… it’s not something, well, it’s just not. It’s not. And I am,” he says. Clarence’s conviction, as a result of coming out and accepting himself, that “no matter what — there is always beauty” may be the best education of all.

Recent theatre features…
Time’s Up? Not So Fast: ‘Carousel’ Is Back on Broadway: REVIEW
In ‘This Flat Earth,’ Growing Up in the Shadow of a School Shooting
Get in, Losers: The ‘Mean Girls’ Musical Is Fun as Hell: REVIEW
In ‘Three Tall Women’ and ‘Yerma,’ Stunning Portraits of Women on the Verge: REVIEW
Chris Evans and Michael Cera Are Men in Uniform in Kenneth Lonergan’s Superb ‘Lobby Hero’: REVIEW
Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane Star in Electrifying ‘Angels in America’: REVIEW
A Slushy ‘Frozen’ Opens on Broadway: REVIEW

Jimmy Buffett Serves up ‘Margaritaville’ on Broadway, Tequila Goggles Sold Separately: REVIEW

Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar
(photos: joan marcus)


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Drag Queen Ada Vox Slays ‘American Idol’ with Queen’s ‘The Show Must Go On’ – WATCH

ada vox american idol

On American Idol, drag queen Ada Vox is proving week after week that she has what it takes, this week delivering a powerhouse performance of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”.

LAST WEEK: Drag Queen Ada Vox Stuns ‘American Idol’ with Soaring Version of ‘Defying Gravity’ – WATCH

Said Lionel Richie: “you came here tonight to stop the show…Each time you come, you take us to another level. You are on fire my dear.”

“Not only did you stop the show, you started the show, queen,” sassed Katy Perry. “I was waiting for someone to show up.”

Added Luke Bryan: “The biggest voice I ever heard. Right there.”


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