Tom MacMaster, a 40-year-old American man living in Scotland admitted that he was behind the "Gay Girl in Damascus" blog, which, for the past six years provided thousands of persecuted gay people with hope – particularly in the Middle East. The blog was supposedly written by a woman Amina Arraf, who, according to the blog, was kidnapped last week. In response, the international media went on high alert. But within days, it became clear that Amina Arraf, was in fact, not a lesbian, not Syrian, and not even a woman. How did MacMaster manage to dupe so many?
After months of setbacks, on-set injuries and pushed back opening nights, Spider-Man fans and U2 fans will finally get what they’ve all been waiting for: the official Broadway premiere of “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark." Two of the show's writers explain the process of bringing the show to the stage.
On this week's edition of Movie Date, Kristen and Rafer give us a sneak peak at one of the summer's most mysterious movies, "Super 8," directed by JJ Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg. Rafer says "Super 8" is a heartless, sub par rehash of Spielberg's "E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial." After hearing that review, Kristen thinks Rafer is the heartless one.
On Sunday night, theatre lovers, music lovers and “South Park” fans will all be cheering for one musical at the Tony Awards: “The Book of Mormon,” which is nominated for 14 Tonys—more than any other show this year. Written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” fame and Robert Lopez of “Avenue Q,” it centers on a group of Mormon missionaries in Africa. Along the way, there are songs about closeted homosexuality and maggot infestations, and more than a few jokes at the expense of Mormons.
For months, JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg have been keeping audiences guessing about their new film, “Super 8.”
Here’s what we know about: It centers on a group of pre-teens in the late 1970s who witness a train crash while making their own low-budget film. After the crash, the kids begin to notice strange things happening in their town.
It’s hard to imagine it now, but in the mid-1920s, the U.S. only had 250 routes for cars. Today, there are more than 55,000 auto bridges, close to 4 million miles of road, and an intricate system of high speed super highways that connect every major city in the country.
These superhighways — which allowed drivers to travel long distances at high speeds — redefined American cities and culture.
Jim Lehrer will no longer be the main face of PBS' "NewsHour." He was the show's anchor for 36 years, but there has not been a lot of fanfare around his departure. "I didn't want to make a big to-do about it," he says. He reflects on reporting on the Kennedy assassination and what he has learned about politics and history. His new book, "Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain" comes out in the Fall; he will continue moderating Shields and Brooks on Fridays. So what's next? "I want to write better books," Lehrer tells us.
Since 1996, Gallup has been polling Americans about gay marriage. In the past, the majority of their respondents were opposed to it being legally recognized. But last month, for the first time, the majority of respondents said they were in favor of gay marriage being legalized. Why are Americans changing their minds?
In this week's Movie Date: Rafer Admits something that's never happened before and may never happen again. Kristen Rejoices. Both agree that "X-Men: First Class" is the kind of superhero film that succeeds in being relatable to the real world, and maybe the first great superhero movie of the summer (sorry, "Thor"). Take a listen.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian died at age 83 Friday morning at a Michigan hospital. Kevorkian was a controversial figure; outspoken on assisted suicide, the doctor said he helped 130 people who had chosen to end their lives. Terry Youk's brother, Thomas, was euthanized in 1998 with the help of Jack Kevorkian. He supported his brothers challenging decision. Professor of political science at Dickinson College, Jim Hoefler is an expert in biomedical ethics and end-of -life decision making. He says that Jack Kevorkian "muddied the waters" in the end-of-life debate by choosing to help people who weren't in dire circumstances.
Before there was a Michael Jordan or Martina Navratilova, long before Tiger Woods or even Jackie Robinson, there was a woman named Babe Didrikson Zaharias who dominated sports for a quarter century. To the delight and fascination of the public, she was able to beat top athletes, both male and female, at sports ranging from bowling to diving. She earned Olympic gold medals in the hurdles and javelin, all-American status in basketball, dozens of golf championships, and a spot on ESPN’s list of top ten North American athletes of the century.
There’s only one new film being released widely this weekend, and it’s a big one: "X-Men: First Class," a prequel to the X-Men films that were so popular between 2000 and 2006. Rafer Guzman, film critic for Newsday co-hosts the Movie Date podcast with Takeaway producer Kristen Meinzer. They talk about the mutant powers they'd each like.
Thirty years ago this week, Dr. Michael Gottlieb identified a new disease in a paper he wrote for the CDC. Characterized by a severely damaged immune system, and primarily afflicting gay men, the syndrome would come to be known as AIDS. In the years since, over sixty million people — of both genders and all sexual orientations — have died of AIDS. Antiretrovirals have been developed, however there is still no cure.
If the marketing and the first film's popularity is any indication, "The Hangover Part II" will pull in tons of money this weekend. Kristen and Rafer share their opinions on the sequel, and as per usual, there's plenty to debate. Can a sequel with a mission of giving viewers "something familiar" also be original? And is this movie offensive to Asians, women, and really all humans?
It's Memorial Day weekend, and for many people that means a visit to see whatever is playing at the local movie theater. Certainly the most heavily advertised option is sequel "The Hangover Part II," the bro-tastic comedy flick featuring Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis. But some people, like San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jeff Yang, aren't happy about the way Asians are portrayed in the film. Yang and producer Kristen Meinzer join us to talk about the film.
Kristen and Rafer share their opinions on the new Woody Allen film, "Midnight in Paris." It's the latest in Allen's slew of "new Woody" movies. But is the "old Woody" better? And where does the old become the new?
This weekend’s anticipated top opener "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." This is the third sequel in the "Pirates" franchise. But "Pirates of the Caribbean" isn’t the only sequel machine out there. This year, the movie industry will be breaking records, releasing a total of 27 sequels (including "The Hangover 2," "Kung Fu Panda 2," "Cars 2," "Twilight" – Part 1 of Part 3, and "Harry Potter" – Part 2 of Part 7). Why does the moviegoing public put up with all the repeats?
Half a century ago, as Martin Luther King Jr. marched on Washington and Freedom Riders tested the desegregation of interstate buses, students at a Detroit high school stood up for their rights, and won. Finding the facilities and education at their school inferior to what was available at predominately white schools, they staged a walk-out, and refused to come back to their school until their demands were met. A new play called “Northern Lights 1966” tells their story. Starring a cast of high school students, it’s being staged by Detroit’s Mosaic Youth Theatre through this weekend.
Fans are mourning the end of Oprah Winfrey's show. But the loss of the internationally syndicated talk show doesn’t just affect fans, it also affects book sales. Patrik Henry Bass, Takeaway contributor and senior editor at Essence magazine, talks with us about the impact Oprah has had on the publishing industry, and how publishers are preparing the life minus her book club.
Since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes, joining the 43 million refugees who are currently displaced around the world. Khaled Hosseini, bestselling author of “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” feels a particular kinship with these refugees. In 1980, when he was a teenager, he and his family were granted asylum in the U.S. when Afghanistan faced a different decade-long war with the Soviets.